After 75 years of its decision and just to the 50th Death Day of the leader of the programme-commission - comrade Stalin - the Comintern- SH herewith publishes not alone the programme of the Comintern at the first time (which got dusty in the revisionist drawer since 1943!), but moreover puts it in front of the struggle for the worldrevolution, which accelerates actively the ongoing breakdown of worldimperialism. With this programme the world-proletariat continues to write a new chapter of the history of its own liberation. By the practical realization of this programme the Comintern-SH proves to be the true follower of the old honourable Comintern. All the Sections of the Comintern-ML are called for the translation of this programme in their mother-tongue-language, for the propagation and for the struggle of its practical realization.
THE epoch of imperialism is the epoch of moribund capitalism. The world war of 1914-1918 and the general crisis of capitalism to which it led, being the direct result of the sharp contradictions between the growth of productive forces of world economy and the national State barriers which intersect it, have shown and proved that the material pre-requisites for socialism have already ripened in the womb of capitalist society, that the shell of capitalism has become an intolerable hindrance to the further development of mankind and that history has brought to the forefront the task of the revolutionary overthrow of the yoke of capitalism.
Imperialism subjects large masses of the proletariat of all countries-from the centres of capitalist power to the most remote corners of the colonial world – to the dictatorship of a finance – capitalist plutocracy. With elemental force, imperialism exposes and accentuates all the contradictions of capitalist society; it carries class oppression to the utmost limits, intensifies the struggle between capitalist governments, inevitably gives rise to world-wide imperialist wars that shake the whole prevailing system of relationships to their foundations and inexorably leads to the world proletarian revolution.
Binding the whole world in chains of finance capital; forcing its yoke upon the proletariat and the nations and races of all Countries by methods of blood, iron and starvation; sharpening to an immeasurable degree the exploitation, oppression and enslavement of the proletariat and confronting it with the immediate task of conquering power, imperialism creates the necessity for close union of the workers of all countries, irrespective of State frontiers, and of differences of nationality, culture, language, race, sex or profession into a single international army of the proletariat. Thus, while imperialism develops and completes the process of creating the material prerequisites for socialism, it at the same tie musters the army of its own grave-diggers and compels the proletariat to organise in a militant international association of workers.
On the other hand, imperialism splits off the best provided for section of the working class from the main mass of the workers. Bribed and corrupted by imperialism, this upper stratum of the working class constitutes the leading element in the social democratic parties; it is interested in the imperialist plunder of the colonies, is loyal to its own bourgeoisie and “its own” imperialist State, and, in the midst of decisive battles, has fought on the side of the class enemy of the proletariat. The split that occurred in the socialist movement in 1914 as a result of this treachery, and the subsequent treachery of the social democratic parties (which in reality have become bourgeois labour parties), demonstrated that the international proletariat will be able to fulfil its historical mission-to throw off the yoke of imperialism and establish the proletarian dictatorship- only by ruthless struggle against social democracy. Hence, the organisation of the forces of the international revolution becomes possible only on the platform of Communism. In opposition to the opportunist Second International of social democracy-which has become the agency of imperialism in the ranks of the working class-inevitably rises the Third, Communist International, the international organisation of the working class, the embodiment of real unity of the revolutionary workers of the whole world.
The war of 1914-1918 gave rise to the first attempts to establish a new, revolutionary International, as a counterpoise to the Second, social-chauvinist International, and as a weapon of resistance to bellicose imperialism (Zimmerwald and Kienthal). The victorious proletarian revolution in Russia gave an impetus to the formation of Communist Parties in the centres of capitalism and in the colonies. In 1919, the Communist International was formed, and for the first time in world history the most advanced strata of the European and American proletariat were really united in the process of practical revolutionary struggle with the proletariat of China and of India and with the coloured toilers of Africa and America.
As the united and centralised international Party of the proletariat, the Communist International is the only Party to continue the principles of the First International, and to carry them out upon the new foundation of the revolutionary proletarian mass movement. The experience gathered from the first imperialist world war, from the subsequent period of revolutionary crises of capitalism, and from the series of revolutions in Europe and in the colonial countries; the experience gathered from the dictatorship of the proletariat and the building up of socialism in the U.S.S.R. and from the work of all the Sections of the Communist International as recorded in the decisions of its Congresses; finally, the fact that the struggle between the imperialist bourgeoisie and the proletariat is more and more assuming an international character; all this has created a need for a uniform programme of the Communist International that will be common for all Sections of the Communist International. This programme of the Communist International, being the supreme critical generalisation of the whole body of historical experience of the international revolutionary proletarian movement, thus- becomes the programme of struggle for world proletarian dictatorship, the programme of struggle for world communism.
Uniting as it does the revolutionary workers, who lead the millions of oppressed and exploited against the bourgeoisie and its “socialist” agents, the Communist International regards itself as the historical successor to the “Communist League” and the First International led by Marx, and as the inheritor of the best of the pre-war traditions of the Second International. The First International laid the ideological foundation for the international proletarian struggle for socialism. The Second International, in the best period of its existence, prepared the ground for the expansion of the labour movement among the masses. The Third, Communist International, in continuing the work of the First International, and in accepting the fruits of the work of the Second International, resolutely lopped off the latter’s opportunism, social-chauvinism, and bourgeois distortion of socialism and set out to realise the dictatorship of the proletariat. In this manner the Communist International continues the glorious and heroic traditions of the international Labour movement of the English Chartists and the French insurrectionists of 1831; of the French and German working class revolutionaries of 1848; of the immortal warriors and martyrs of the Paris Commune; of the valiant soldiers of the German, Hungarian and Finnish revolutions; of the workers under the former Tsarist despotism-the victorious bearers of the proletarian dictatorship; of the Chinese proletarians-the heroes of Canton and Shanghai.
Basing itself on the experience of the revolutionary labour movement of all continents and of all peoples, the Communist international, in its theoretical and practical work, stands wholly and unreservedly upon the ground of revolutionary Marxism, and its further development, Leninism, which is nothing else than Marxism of the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolution.
Advocating and propagating the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels and employing it as a revolutionary method of conceiving reality, with a view to the revolutionary transformation of this reality, the Communist International wages an active struggle against all forms of bourgeois philosophy and against all forms of theoretical and practical opportunism. Standing on the ground of consistent proletarian class struggle and subordinating the temporary, partial, group and national interests of the proletariat to its lasting, general, international interests, the Communist International mercilessly exposes all forms of the doctrine of “class peace” that the reformists have accepted from the bourgeoisie. Expressing the historical need for an international organisation of revolutionary proletarians-the gravediggers of the capitalist order-the Communist International is the only international force that has for its programme the dictatorship of the proletariat and Communism, and that openly come out as the organiser of the international proletarian revolution.
THE characteristic features of capitalist society which arose on the basis of commodity production are the monopoly of the most important and vital means of production by the capitalist class and big landlords; the exploitation of the wage labour of the proletariat, which, being deprived of the means of production is compelled to sell its labour power; the production of commodities for profit; and, linked up with all this, the planless and anarchic character of the process of production as a whole. Exploitation relationships and the economic domination of the bourgeoisie find their political expression in the organised capitalist State-the instrument for the suppression of the proletariat.
The history of capitalism has entirely confirmed the theories of Marx and Engels concerning the laws of development of capitalist society and concerning the contradictions of this development that must inevitably lead to the downfall of the whole capitalist system.
In its quest for profits the bourgeoisie was compelled to develop the productive forces on an ever-increasing scale and to strengthen and expand the domination of capitalist relationships of production. Thus, the development of capitalism constantly reproduces on a wider scale all the inherent contradictions of the capitalist system-primarily, the vital contradiction between the social character of labour and private acquisition, between the growth of the productive forces and the property relations of capitalism. The predominance of private property in the means of production and the anarchy prevailing in the process of production have disturbed the equilibrium between the various branches of production; for a growing contradiction developed between the tendency towards unlimited expansion of production and the restricted consumption of the masses of the proletariat (general over-production), and this resulted in periodical devastating crises and mass unemployment among the proletariat. The predominance of private property also found expression in the competition that prevailed in each separate capitalist country as well as in the constantly expanding world market. This latter form of capitalist rivalry resulted in a number of wars, which are the inevitable accompaniment of capitalist development.
On the other hand, the technical and economic advantages of mass production have resulted in the squeezing out and destruction in the competitive struggle of the pre-capitalist economic forms and in the ever-increasing concentration and centralisation of capital. In the sphere of industry this law of concentration and centralisation of capital manifested itself primarily in the direct ruin of small enterprises or alternatively in their being reduced to the position of auxiliary units of large enterprises. In the domain of agriculture which, owing to the existence of the monopoly in land and in absolute rent, must inevitably lag behind the general rate of development, this law not only found expression in the process of differentiation that took place among the peasantry and in the proletarianisation of broad strata of them, but also and mainly in the open and concealed subordination of small peasant economy to the domination of big capital. Small farming has been able to maintain a nominal independence only at the price of extreme intensification of labour and systematic under consumption.
The ever-growing application of machinery, the constant improvement in technique and, consequently, the uninterrupted rise in the organic composition of capital, accompanied by still further division, increased productivity and intensity of labour, meant also increased employment of female and child labour, the formation of enormous industrial reserve armies which are constantly replenished by the proletarianised peasantry who are forced to leave their villages as well as by the ruined small and middle urban bourgeoisie. The collection of a handful of capitalist magnates at one pole of social relationships and of a gigantic mass of the proletariat at the other; the constantly increasing rate of exploitation of the working class, the reproduction on a wider scale of the deepest contradictions of capitalism and their consequences (crises, wars, etc.); the constant growth of social inequality, the rising discontent of the proletariat united and schooled by the mechanism of capitalist production itself-all this has inevitably undermined the foundations of capitalism and has brought nearer the day of its collapse.
Simultaneously, a profound change has taken place in the social and cultural life of capitalist society; the parasitical decadence of the rentier group of the bourgeoisie; the break up of the family, which expresses the growing contradiction between the mass participation of women in social production and the forms of family and domestic life largely inherited from previous economic epochs; the growing shallowness and degeneracy of cultural and ideological life resulting from the minute specialisation of labour, the monstrous forms of urban life and the restrictedness of rural life; the incapability of the bourgeoisie, notwithstanding the enormous achievements of the natural sciences, to create a synthetically scientific philosophy, and the growth of ideological, mystical and religious superstition, are all phenomena signalising the approach of the historical end of the capitalist system.
The period of industrial capitalism was, in the main, a period of “free competition”; a period of a relatively smooth evolution and expansion of capitalism throughout the whole world, when the as yet unoccupied colonies were being divided up and conquered by armed force; a period of continuous growth of the inherent contradictions of capitalism, the burden of which fell mainly upon the systematically plundered, crushed and oppressed colonial periphery.
Towards the beginning of the 20th century, this period was replaced by the period of imperialism, during which capitalism developed spasmodically and conflictingly; free competition rapidly gave way to monopoly, the previously “available” colonial lands were all divided up, and the struggle for a redistribution of colonies and spheres of influence inevitably began to assume primarily the form of a struggle by force of arms.
Thus, the full intensity and the truly world-wide extent of the contradictions of capitalism became most glaringly revealed in the epoch of imperialism (finance capitalism), which, from the historical standpoint, a new form of capitalism, a new system of relationships between the various parts. of world capitalist economy and a change in the relationship between the principal classes of capitalist society.
This new historical period set in as a result of the operation of the principal dynamic laws of capitalist society. It grew out of the development of industrial capitalism, and is the historical continuation of the latter. It sharpened the manifestations of all the fundamental tendencies and dynamic laws of capitalist development, of all its fundamental contradictions and antagonisms. The law of the concentration and centralisation of capital led to the formation of powerful combines (cartels, syndicates, trusts), to new forms of gigantic combinations of enterprises, linked up into one system by the banks. The merging of industrial capital with bank capital, the absorption of big land ownership into the general system of capital organisation, and the monopolist character of this form of capitalism transferred the epoch of industrial capital into the epoch of finance capital. “Free competition” of the period of industrial capitalism, which replaced feudal monopoly and the monopoly of merchant capital, became itself transformed into finance capital monopoly. At the same time, although capitalist monopolist organisations grow out of free competition, they do not eliminate competition, hut exist side by side with it and hover over it, thus giving rise to a series of exceptionally great and acute contradictions, frictions and conflicts.
The growing use of complex machinery, of chemical processes and of electrical energy; the resulting higher organic composition of capital; and the consequent decline in the rate of profit, which only the biggest monopolist combines are able to counteract for a time by their policy of high cartel prices, still further stimulate the quest for colonial super-profits and the struggle for a new division of the world. Standardised mass production creates a demand for more foreign markets. The growing demand for raw materials and fuel intensifies the race for their sources. Lastly, the system of high protection, which hinders the export of merchandise and secures additional profit for exported capital, creates additional stimuli to the export of capital. Export of capital becomes, therefore, the decisive and specific form of economic contact between the various parts of world capitalist economy. The total effect of all this is that the monopolist ownership of colonial markets, of sources of raw materials and of spheres of investment of capital extremely accentuates the general unevenness of capitalist development and sharpens the conflicts between the “great powers” of finance capital over the re-allocation of colonies and spheres of influence.
The growth of the productive forces of world economy thus leads to the further internationalisation of economic life and simultaneously leads to a struggle for a redistribution of the world, already divided up among the biggest finance capital States, to a change in and sharpening of the forms of this struggle and to the older method of bringing down prices being superseded to an increasing degree by the method of direct force (boycott, high protection, tariff wars, wars proper, etc.). Consequently, the monopolist form of capitalism is inevitably accompanied by imperialist wars, which, by the area they embrace and the destructiveness of their technique, have no parallel in world history.
Expressing the tendency for unification of the various sections of the dominant class, the imperialist form of capitalism places the broad masses of the proletariat in opposition, not to a single employer, but, to an increasing degree, to the capitalist class as a whole and to the capitalist State. On the other hand, this form of capitalism breaks down the national barriers that have become too restricted for it, widens the scope of the capitalist State power of the dominant Great Powers and brings them into opposition to vast masses of nationally oppressed peoples in the so-called small nations as well as in the colonies. Finally, this form of capitalism brings the imperialist States most sharply into opposition to each other.
This being the case, State power, which is becoming the dictatorship of the finance-capitalist oligarchy and the expression of its concentrated might, acquires special significance for the bourgeoisie. The functions of this multi-national imperialist State grow in all directions. The development of State capitalist forms, which facilitate the struggle in foreign markets (mobilisation of industry for war purposes) as well as the struggle against the working class; the monstrous growth of militarism (armies, naval and air fleets, and the employment of chemistry and bacteriology); the increasing pressure of the imperialist State upon the-working class (the growth of exploitation and direct suppression of the workers on the one hand and the systematic policy of bribing the bureaucratic reformist leadership on the other), all this expresses the enormous growth of the power of the State. Under these circumstances, every more or less important action of the proletariat becomes transformed into an action against the State power, i.e., into political action.
Hence, the development of capitalism, and particularly the imperialist epoch of its development, reproduces the fundamental contradictions of capitalism on an increasingly magnified scale. Competition among small capitalists ceases, only to make way for competition among big capitalists; where competition among big capitalists subsides, it flares up between gigantic combinations of capitalist magnates and their governments; local and national crises become transformed into crises affecting a number of countries and, subsequently, into world crises; local wars give way to wars between coalitions of States and to world wars; the class struggle changes from isolated actions by single groups of workers into nation-wide conflicts and subsequently, into an international struggle of the world proletariat against the world bourgeoisie. Finally, two main revolutionary forces are organising against the organised might of finance capital-on the one hand the workers in the capitalist States, on the other hand the victims of the oppression of foreign capital, the masses of the people in the colonies, marching under the leadership and the hegemony of the international revolutionary proletarian movement.
However, this fundamental revolutionary tendency is temporarily paralysed by the fact that certain sections of the European, North American and Japanese proletariat are bribed by the imperialist bourgeoisie, and by the treachery of the national bourgeoisie in the semi-colonial and colonial countries who are scared by the revolutionary mass movement. The bourgeoisie in imperialist countries, able to secure additional surplus profits from the position it holds in the world market (more developed technique, export of capital to countries with a higher rate of profit, etc.), and from the proceeds of its plunder of the colonies and semi-colonies-was able to raise the wages of its “own” workers out of these surplus profits, thus giving these workers an interest in the development of “home” capitalism, in the plunder of the colonies and in being loyal to the imperialist State.
This systematic bribery was and is being very widely practised in the most powerful imperialist countries and finds most striking expression in the ideology and practice of the labour aristocracy and the bureaucratic strata of the working class, i.e., the social democratic and trade union leaders, who proved to be direct agents of bourgeois influence among the proletariat and stalwart pillars of the capitalist system.
By stimulating the growth of the corrupt upper stratum of the working class, however, imperialism, in the end destroys its influence upon the working class, because the growing contradictions of imperialism, the worsening of the conditions of the broad masses of the workers, the mass unemployment among the proletariat, the enormous cost of military conflicts and the burdens they entail, the fact that certain Powers have lost their monopolist position in the world market, the break-away of the colonies, etc., serve to undermine the basis of social democracy among the masses. Similarly, the systematic bribery of the various sections of the bourgeoisie in the colonies and semi-colonies, their betrayal of the national-revolutionary movement and their rapprochement with the imperialist powers can paralyse the development of the revolutionary crisis only for a time. In the final analysis, this leads to the intensification of imperialist oppression, to the decline of the influence of the national bourgeoisie upon the masses of the people, to the sharpening of the revolutionary crisis, to the unleashing of the agrarian revolution of the broad masses of the peasantry and to the creation of conditions favourable for the establishment of the leaders of the proletariat in the popular mass struggle in the colonies and dependencies for independence and complete national liberation.
Imperialism has greatly developed the productive forces of world capitalism. It has completed the preparation of all the material pre-requisites for the socialist organisation of society. By its wars it has demonstrated that the productive forces of world economy, which have outgrown the restricted boundaries of imperialist States, demand the organisation of economy on a world, or international scale. Imperialism tries to remove this contradiction by hacking a road with fire and sword towards a single world State-capitalist trust, which is to organise the whole world economy. This sanguinary utopia is being extolled by the social democratic ideologists as a peaceful method of newly “organised” capitalism. In reality, this utopia encounters insurmountable objective obstacles of such magnitude that capitalism must inevitably fall beneath the weight of its own contradictions. The law of uneven development of capitalism, which becomes intensified in the epoch of imperialism, renders firm and durable international combinations of imperialist powers impossible. On the other hand, imperialist wars, which are developing into world wars, and through which the law of the centralisation of capitalism strives to reach its world limit-a single world trust-are accompanied by so much destruction and place such burdens upon the shoulders of the working class and of the millions of colonial proletarians and peasants, that capitalism must inevitably perish beneath the blows of the proletarian revolution long before this goal is reached.
Being the highest phase of capitalist development, imperialism, expanding the productive forces of world economy to enormous dimensions, and re-fashioning the whole world after its own image, draws within the orbit of finance capitalist exploitation all colonies, all races and all nations. At the same time, however, the monopolist form of capital develops increasingly the elements of parasitical degeneration, decay and decline within capitalism. In destroying, to some extent, the driving force of competition, by conducting a policy of cartel prices, and by having undivided mastery of the market, monopoly capital reveals a tendency to retard the further development of the forces of production. In squeezing enormous sums of surplus profit out of the millions of colonial workers and peasants and in accumulating colossal incomes from this exploitation, imperialism is creating a type of decaying and parasitically degenerate rentier-class, as well as whole strata of parasites who live by clipping coupons. In completing the process of creating the material pre-requisites for socialism (the concentration of means of production, the enormous socialisation of labour, the growth of labour organisations), the epoch of imperialism intensifies the antagonisms among the “Great Powers” and gives rise to wars which cause the break-up of its single world economy. Imperialism is therefore capitalism moribund and decaying. It is the final stage of development of the capitalist system. It is the threshold of world social revolution.
Hence, international proletarian revolution logically emerges out of the conditions of development of capitalism generally, and out of its imperialist phase in particular. The capitalist system as a whole is approaching its final collapse. The dictatorship of finance capital is perishing to give way to the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The imperialist struggle among the largest capitalist States for the redistribution of the globe led to the first imperialist world war (1914-1918). This war shook the whole system of world capitalism and marked the beginning of an epoch of general crisis. The war bent to its service the entire national economies of the belligerent countries, thus creating the mailed fist of State capitalism. It increased unproductive expenditures to enormous dimensions, destroyed enormous quantities of the means of production and human labour power, ruined large masses of the population and imposed incalculable burdens upon the industrial workers, the peasants and the colonial peoples. It inevitably led to the intensification of the class struggle, which grew into open, revolutionary mass action and civil war. The imperialist front was broken at its weakest link, in Tsarist Russia. The February revolution of 1917 overthrew the domination of the autocracy of the big land-owning class. The October revolution overthrew the rule of the bourgeoisie. This victorious proletarian revolution expropriated the expropriators, took the means of production from the landlords and the capitalists, and for the first time in human history set up and consolidated the dictatorship of the proletariat in an enormous country. It brought into being a new, Soviet type of State and laid the foundations for the international proletarian revolution.
The powerful shock to which the whole of world capitalism was subjected, the sharpening of the class struggle and the direct influence of the October proletarian revolution gave rise to a series of revolutions and revolutionary actions on the Continent of Europe as well as in the colonial and semi-colonial countries: January, 1918, the proletarian revolution in Finland; August, 1918, the so-called “rice riots” in Japan; November, 1918, the revolutions in Austria and Germany, which overthrew the semi-feudal monarchist régime; March, 1919, the proletarian revolution in Hungary and the uprising in Korea; April, 1919, the Soviet Government in Bavaria; January, 1920, the bourgeois-national revolution in Turkey; September, 1920, the seizure of the factories by the workers in Italy; March, 1921, the rising of the advanced workers of Germany; September, 1923, the uprising in Bulgaria; Autumn, 1923, the revolutionary crisis in Germany; December, 1924, the uprising in Esthonia; April, 1923, the uprising in Morocco; August, 1925, uprising in Syria; May, 1926, the general strike in England; July, 1927, the proletarian uprising in Vienna. These events, as well as events like the uprising in Indonesia, the deep ferment in India, and the great Chinese revolution, which shook the whole Asiatic continent, are links in one and the same international revolutionary chain, constituent parts of the profound general crisis of capitalism. This international revolutionary process embraced the immediate struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, as well as national wars of liberation’ and colonial uprisings against imperialism, which go together with the agrarian mass movement of millions of peasants. Thus, an enormous mass of humanity was swept into the revolutionary torrent. World history entered a new phase of development-a phase of prolonged general crisis of the capitalist system. In this process, the unity of world economy found expression in the international character of the revolution, while the uneven development of its separate parts was expressed in the different times of the outbreak of revolution in the different countries.
The first attempts at revolutionary overthrow, which sprang from the acute crisis of capitalism (1918-1921) ended in the victory and consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the U.S.S.R. and in the defeat of the proletariat in a number of other countries. These defeats were primarily due to the treacherous tactics of the social democratic and reformist trade union leaders, but they were also due to the fact that the majority of the working class had not yet accepted the lead of the Communists and that in a number of important countries Communist Parties had not yet been established at all. As a result of these defeats, which created the opportunity for intensifying the exploitation of the mass of the proletariat and the colonial peoples, and for severely depressing their standard of living, the bourgeoisie was able to achieve a partial stabilisation of capitalist relations.
During the progress of the international revolution, the leading cadres of the social democratic parties and of the reformist trade unions on the one hand, and the militant capitalist organisations of the Fascist type on the other, acquired special significance as a powerful counter-revolutionary force actively fighting against the revolution and actively supporting the partial stabilisation of capitalism.
The war crisis of 1914-1918 was accompanied by the disgraceful collapse of the social democratic Second International. Acting in complete violation of the thesis of the “ Communist Manifesto” written by Marx-Engels, that the proletariat has no fatherland under capitalism and in complete violation of the anti-war resolutions passed by the Stuttgart and Basle Congresses, the leaders of the social democratic parties in the various countries, with a few exceptions, voted for the war credits, came out definitely in defence of the imperialist “fatherland” (i.e., the State organisations of the imperialist bourgeoisie) and instead of combatting the imperialist war, became its loyal soldiers, bards and propagandists (social-patriotism, which grew into social-imperialism). In the subsequent period, social democracy supported the predatory treaties (Brest-Litovsk, Versailles); it actively aligned itself with the militarists in the bloody suppression of proletarian uprisings (Noske); it conducted armed warfare against the first proletarian republic (Soviet Russia); it despicably betrayed the victorious proletariat (Hungary); it joined the imperialist League of Nations (Albert Thomas, Paul Boncour, Vandervelde); it openly supported the imperialist slave-owners against the colonial slaves (the British Labour Party); it actively supported the most reactionary executioners of the working class (Bulgaria, Poland); it took upon itself the initiative in securing the passage of imperialist “ military laws” (France); it betrayed the general strike of the British proletariat; it helped and is still helping to strangle China and India (the MacDonald Government); it acts as the propagandist for the imperialist League of Nations; it is capital’s herald and organiser in its struggle against the dictatorship of the proletariat in the U.S.S.R. (Kautsky, Hilferding).
In its systematic conduct of this counter-revolutionary policy, social democracy operates on two flanks. The right wing of social democracy, avowedly counter-revolutionary, is essential for negotiating and maintaining direct contact with the bourgeoisie; the left wing is essential for the subtle deception of the workers. While playing with pacifist and at times even with revolutionary phrases, “left” social democracy in practice acts against the workers, particularly in acute and critical situations (the British I.L.P. and the “left” leaders of the General Council during the general strike in 1926; Otto Bauer and Co., at the time of the Vienna uprising), and is therefore, the most dangerous faction in the social democratic parties. While serving the interests of the bourgeoisie in the working class and being wholly in favour of class co-operation and coalition with the bourgeoisie, social democracy, at certain periods, is compelled to play the part of an opposition party and even to pretend that it is defending the class interests of the proletariat in its industrial struggle. It tries thereby to win the confidence of a section of the working class and to be in a position more shamefully to betray the lasting interests of the working class, particularly in the midst of decisive class battles.
The principal function of social democracy at the present time is to disrupt the essential militant unity of the proletariat in its struggle against imperialism. In splitting and disrupting the united front of the proletarian struggle against capital, social democracy serves as the mainstay of imperialism in the working class. International social democracy of all shades; the Second International and its trade union branch, the Amsterdam Federation of Trade Unions, have thus become the last reserve of bourgeois society and its most reliable pillar of support.
Side by side with social democracy, with whose aid the bourgeoisie suppresses the workers or lulls their class vigilance, stands Fascism.
The epoch of imperialism, the sharpening of the class struggle and the growth of the elements of civil war-particularly after the imperialist war-led to the bankruptcy of parliamentarism. Hence, the adoption of “new” methods and forms of administration (for example, the system of inner cabinets, the formation of oligarchical groups, acting behind the scenes, the deterioration and falsification of the function of “popular representation,” the restriction and annulment of “democratic liberties,” etc.). Under certain special historical conditions, the progress of this bourgeois, imperialist, reactionary offensive assumes the form of Fascism. These conditions are: instability of capitalist relationships; the existence of considerable de-classed social elements, the pauperisation of broad strata of the urban petty bourgeoisie and of the intelligentsia; discontent among the rural petty-bourgeoisie and, finally, the constant menace of mass proletarian action. In order to stabilise and perpetuate its rule, the bourgeoisie is compelled to an increasing degree to abandon the parliamentary system in favour of the Fascist system, which is independent of inter-party arrangements and combinations. The Fascist system is a system of direct dictatorship, ideologically marked by the “national idea” and by representation of the “professions” (in reality, representation of the various groups of the ruling class). It is a system that resorts to a peculiar form of social demagogy (anti-semitism, occasional sorties against usurers’ capital and gestures of impatience with the parliamentary “talking shop”) in order to utilise the discontent of the petty bourgeois, the intellectuals and other strata of society, and to corruption-the creation of a compact and well paid hierarchy of Fascist units, a party apparatus and a bureaucracy. At the same time, Fascism strives to permeate the working class by recruiting the most backward strata of workers to its ranks-by playing upon their discontent, by taking advantage of the inaction of social democracy, etc. The principal aim of Fascism is to destroy the revolutionary labour vanguard, i.e., the Communist Sections and leading units of the proletariat. The combination of social democracy, corruption and active white terror, in conjunction with extreme imperialist aggression in the sphere of foreign politics, are the characteristic features of Fascism. In periods of acute crisis for the bourgeoisie, Fascism resorts to anti-capitalist phraseology, but, after it has established itself at the helm of State, it casts aside its anti-capitalist prattle and discloses itself as a terrorist dictatorship of big capital.
The bourgeoisie resorts either to the method of Fascism or to the method of coalition with social democracy according to the changes in the political situation; while social democracy itself, often plays a Fascist role in periods when the situation is critical for capitalism.
In the process of development social democracy reveals Fascist tendencies which, however, do not prevent it, in other political situations, from acting as a sort of Fronde against the bourgeois government in the capacity of an opposition party. The Fascist method and the method of coalition with social democracy, are not the methods usually employed in “normal” capitalist conditions; they are the symptoms of the general capitalist crisis, and are employed by the bourgeoisie in order to stem the advance of the revolution.
Experience throughout the post-war historical period has shown that the stabilisation achieved by the repression of the working class and the systematic depression of its standard of living can be only a partial, transient and decaying stabilisation.
The spasmodic and feverish development of technique, bordering in some countries on a new technical revolution, the accelerated process of concentration and centralisation of capital, the formation of giant trusts and of “national” and “international” monopolies, the merging of trusts with the State power and the growth of world capitalist economy cannot, however, eliminate the general crisis of the capitalist system. The break up of world economy into a capitalist and a socialist sector, the shrinking of markets and the anti-imperialist movement in the colonies intensify all the contradictions of capitalism, which is developing on a new, post-war basis. This very technical progress and rationalisation of industry, the reverse side of which is the closing down and liquidation of numerous enterprises, the restriction of production, and the ruthless and destructive exploitation of labour power, leads to chronic unemployment on a scale never before experienced. The absolute deterioration of the conditions of the working class becomes a fact even in certain highly developed capitalist countries. The growing competition between imperialist countries, the constant menace of war and the growing intensity of class conflicts prepare the ground for a new and higher stage of development of the general crisis of capitalism and of the world proletarian revolution.
As a result of the first round of imperialist wars (the world war of 1914-1918) and of the October victory of the working class in the former Russian Tsarist Empire, world economy has been split into two fundamentally hostile camps: the camp of the imperialist States and the camp of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the U.S.S.R. The difference in structure and in the class character of the government in the two camps, the fundamental differences in the aims each pursues in internal, foreign, economic and cultural policy, the fundamentally different courses of their development, brings the capitalist world into sharp conflict with the victorious proletarian State. Within the framework of a formerly uniform world economy, two antagonistic systems are now contesting against each other: the system of capitalism and the system of socialism. The class struggle, which hitherto was conducted in circumstances when the proletariat was not in possession of State power, is now being conducted on an enormous and really world scale; the working class of the world has now its own State-the one and only fatherland of the international proletariat. The existence of the Soviet Union and the influence it exercises upon the toiling and oppressed masses all over the world is in itself a most striking expression of the profound crisis of the world capitalist system and of the expansion and intensification of the class struggle to a degree hitherto without parallel in history.
The capitalist world, powerless to eliminate its inherent contradictions, strives to establish international associations (the League of Nations) the main purpose of which is to retard the irresistible growth of the revolutionary crisis and to strangle the Soviet Proletarian Republics by war or blockade. At the same time, all the forces of the revolutionary proletariat and of the oppressed colonial masses are rallying around the U.S.S.R. The world coalition of Capital, unstable, internally corroded, but armed to the teeth, is confronted by a single world coalition of Labour. Thus, as a result of the first round of imperialist wars a new, fundamental antagonism has arisen of world historical scope and significance; the antagonism between the U.S.S.R. and the capitalist world.
Meanwhile, the inherent antagonisms within the capitalist sector of world economy itself have become intensified. The shifting of the economic centre of the world to the United States of America and the fact that the “Dollar Republic” has become a world exploiter have caused the relations between United States and European capitalism, particularly British capitalism, to become strained. The conflict between Great Britain-the most powerful of the old, conservative imperialist States and the United States-the greatest of the young imperialist States, which has already won world hegemony for itself, is becoming the pivot of the world conflicts among the finance capitalist States. Germany, though plundered by the Versailles Peace, is now economically recovered; she is resuming the path of imperialist politics, and once again she stands out as a serious competitor on the world market. The Pacific is becoming involved in a tangle of contradictions which centre mainly around the antagonism between America and Japan. Simultaneously, the antagonism of interests among the unstable and constantly changing groupings of powers is increasing, while the minor powers serve as auxiliary instruments in the hands of the imperialist giants and their coalitions.
The growth of the productive capacity of the industrial apparatus of world capitalism, at a time when the European home markets have shrunk as a result of the war, of the Soviet Union’s dropping out of the system of purely capitalist intercourse, and of the close monopoly of the most important sources of raw material and fuel, leads to ever-widening conflicts between the capitalist States. The “peaceful” struggle for oil, rubber, cotton, coal and metals and for a redistribution of markets and spheres for the export of capital is inexorably leading to another world war, the destructiveness of which will increase proportionately to the progress achieved in the furiously developing technique of war.
Simultaneously, the antagonisms between the imperialist home countries and the semi-colonial countries are growing. The relative weakening of European imperialism as a result of the war, of the development of capitalism in the colonies, of the influence of the Soviet revolution and the centrifugal tendencies revealed in the premier maritime and colonial Empire-Great Britain (Canada, Australia, South Africa)-has helped to stimulate the movement of rebellion in the colonies and semi-colonies. The great Chinese revolution, which roused hundreds of millions of the Chinese people to action, caused an enormous breach in the imperialist system. The unceasing revolutionary ferment among hundreds of millions of Indian workers and peasants is threatening to break the domination of the world citadel of imperialism, Great Britain. The growth of tendencies directed against the powerful imperialism of the United States in the Latin American countries threatens to undermine the expansion of North American capital. Thus, the revolutionary process in the colonies, which is drawing into the struggle against imperialism the overwhelming majority of the world’s population that is subjected to the rule of the finance capitalist ogliarchy of a few “Great Powers” of imperialism, also expresses the profound general crisis of capitalism. Even in Europe itself, where imperialism has put a number of small nations under its heel, the national question is a factor that intensifies the inherent contradictions of capitalism.
Finally, the revolutionary crisis is inexorably maturing in the very centres of imperialism; the capitalist offensive against the working class, the attack upon the workers’ standard of living, upon their organisations and their political rights, with the growth of white terror, rouses increasing resistance on the part of the broad masses of the proletariat and intensifies the class struggle between the working class and trustified capital. The great battles fought between Labour and Capital, the accelerated swing to the left of the masses, the growth in the influence and authority of the Communist Parties; the enormous growth of sympathy among the broad masses of workers for the land of the proletarian dictatorship-all this is a clear symptom of the rise of a new tide in the centres of imperialism.
Thus, the system of world imperialism, and with it the partial stabilisation of capitalism, is being corroded from various causes: First, the antagonisms and conflicts between the imperialist States; second, the rise of the struggle of vast masses in the colonial countries; third, the action of the revolutionary proletariat in the imperialist home countries; and lastly, the leadership exercised over the whole world revolutionary movement by the proletarian dictatorship in the U.S.S.R. The international revolution is developing.
Against this revolution, imperialism is gathering its forces. Expeditions against the colonies, a new world war, a campaign against the U.S.S.R., are matters which now figure prominently in the politics of imperialism. This must lead to the release of all the forces of international revolution and to the inevitable doom of capitalism.
The ultimate aim of the Communist International is to replace world capitalist economy by a world system of Communism. Communist society, the basis for which has been prepared by the whole course of historical development, is mankind’s only way out, for it alone can abolish the contradictions of the capitalist system which threaten to degrade and destroy the human race.
Communist society will abolish the class division of society, i.e., simultaneously with the abolition of anarchy in production, it will abolish all forms of exploitation and oppression of man by man. Society will no longer consist of antagonistic classes in conflict with each other, but will present a united commonwealth of labour. For the first time in its history mankind will take its fate into its own hands. Instead of destroying innumerable human lives and incalculable wealth in struggles between classes and nations, mankind will devote all its energy to the struggle against the forces of nature, to the development and strengthening of its own collective might.
After abolishing private ownership of the means of production and converting these means into social property, the world system of Communism will replace the elemental forces of the world market, competitive and blind processes of social production, by consciously organised and planned production for the purpose of satisfying rapidly growing social needs. With the abolition of competition and anarchy in production, devastating crises and still more devastating wars will disappear. Instead of colossal waste of productive forces and spasmodic development of society-there will be a planned utilisation of all material resources and a painless economic development on the basis of unrestricted, smooth and rapid development of productive forces.
The abolition of private property and the disappearance of classes will do away with the exploitation of man by man. Work will cease to be toiling for the benefit of a class enemy: instead of being merely a means of livelihood it will become a necessity of life: want and economic inequality, the misery of enslaved classes, and a wretched standard of life generally will disappear; the hierarchy created in the division of labour system will be abolished together with the antagonism between mental and manual labour; and the last vestige of the social inequality of the sexes will be removed. At the same time, the organs of class domination, and the State in the first place, will disappear also. The State, being the embodiment of class domination, will die out in so far as classes die out, and with it all measures of coercion will expire.
With the disappearance of classes the monopoly of education in every form will be abolished. Culture will become the acquirement of all and the class ideologies of the past will give place to scientific materialist philosophy. Under such circumstances, the domination of man over man, in any form, becomes impossible, and a great field will be opened for the social selection and the harmonious development of all the talents inherent in humanity.
In Communist society no social restrictions will be imposed upon the growth of the forces of production. Private ownership in the means of production, the selfish lust for profits, the artificial retention of the masses in a state of ignorance, poverty-which retards technical progress in capitalist society, and unproductive expenditures will have no place in a Communist society. The most expedient utilisation of the forces of nature and of the natural conditions of production in the various parts of the world, the removal of the antagonism between town and country, that under capitalism results from the low technical level of agriculture and its systematic lagging behind industry; the closest possible co-operation between science and technique, the utmost encouragement of research work and the practical application of its results on the widest possible social scale; planned organisation of scientific work; the application of the most perfect methods of statistical accounting and, planned regulation of economy; the rapid growth of social needs, which-is the most powerful internal driving force of the whole system-all these will secure the maximum productivity of social labour, which in turn will release human energy for the powerful development of science and art.
The development of the productive forces of world Communist society will make it possible to raise the well-being of the whole of humanity and to reduce to a minimum the time devoted to material production and, consequently, will enable culture to flourish as never before in history. This new culture of a humanity that is united for the first time in history, and has abolished all State boundaries, will, unlike capitalist culture, be based upon clear and transparent human relationships. Hence, it will bury forever all mysticism, religion, prejudice and superstition and will give a powerful impetus to the development of all-conquering, scientific knowledge.
This higher stage of Communism, the stage in which Communist society will have developed on its own foundation, in which an enormous growth of social productive forces has accompanied the manifold development of man, in which humanity has already inscribed on its banner: “From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs! “-presupposes, as an historical condition precedent, a lower stage of development, the stage of socialism. At this lower stage, Communist society only just emerges from capitalist society and bears all the economic, ethical and intellectual birthmarks it has inherited from the society from whose womb it is just emerging. The productive forces of socialism are not yet sufficiently developed to assure a distribution of the products of labour according to needs: these are distributed according to the amount of labour expended. Division of labour, i.e., the system whereby certain groups perform certain labour functions, and especially the distinction between mental and manual labour, still exists. Although classes are abolished, traces of the old class division of society and, consequently, remnants of the proletarian State power, coercion, laws, still exist. Consequently, certain traces of inequality, which have not yet managed to die out altogether, still remain. The antagonism between town and country has not yet been entirely removed. But none of these survivals of former society is protected or defended by any social force. Being the product of a definite level of development of productive forces, they will disappear as rapidly as mankind, freed from the fetters of the capitalist system, subjugates the forces of nature, re-educates itself in the spirit of Communism, and passes from socialism to complete Communism.
Between capitalist society and Communist society a period of revolutionary transformation intervenes, during which the one changes into the other. Correspondingly, there is also an intervening period of political transition~ in which the essential State form is the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. The transition from the world dictatorship of imperialism to the world dictatorship of the proletariat extends over a long period of proletarian struggles with defeats as well as victories; a. period of continuous general crisis in capitalist relationships and growth of social revolutions, i.e., of proletarian civil wars against the bourgeoisie; a period of national wars and colonial rebellions which, although not in themselves revolutionary proletarian socialist movements, are nevertheless, objectively, in so far as they undermine the domination of imperialism, constituent parts of the world proletarian revolution; a period in which capitalist and socialist economic and social systems exist side by side in “peaceful” relationships as well as in armed conflict; a period of formation of a Union of Soviet Republics; a period of wars of imperialist States against Soviet States; a period in which the ties between the Soviet States and colonial peoples become more and more closely established, etc.
Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. This unevenness is still more pronounced and acute in the epoch of imperialism. Hence, it follows that the international proletarian revolution cannot be conceived as a single event occurring simultaneously all over the world. At first socialism may be victorious in a few, or even in one single capitalist country. Every such proletarian victory, however, broadens the basis of the world revolution and consequently, still further intensifies the general crisis of capitalism. Thus, the capitalist system as a whole reaches the point of its final collapse; the dictatorship of finance capital perishes and gives place to the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Bourgeois revolutions brought about the political liberation of a system of productive relationships which had already established itself and become economically dominant by transferring political power from the hands of one class of exploiters to the hands of another. Proletarian revolution, however, signifies the forcible invasion of the proletariat into the domain of property relationships of bourgeois society, the expropriation of the expropriating classes, and the transference of power to a class that aims at the radical reconstruction of the economic foundations of society and the abolition of all exploitation of man by man. The political domination of the feudal barons all over the world was broken in a series of separate bourgeois revolutions that extended over a period of centuries. The international proletarian revolution, however, although it will not be a single simultaneous act, but one extending over a whole epoch, nevertheless-thanks to the closer ties that now exist between the countries of the world, will accomplish its mission in a much shorter period of time. Only after the proletariat has achieved victory and consolidated its power all over the world will a prolonged period of the intensive construction of socialist world economy set in.
The conquest of power by the proletariat is a necessary condition precedent to the growth of socialist forms of economy and to the cultural growth of the proletariat, which changes its own nature, perfects itself for the leadership of society in all spheres of life, and draws into this process of transformation all other classes; this preparing the ground for the abolition of classes altogether.
In the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, and later for the transformation of the social system, as against the alliance of capitalists and landlords an alliance of workers and peasants is formed, under the intellectual and political leadership of the former, an alliance which serves as the basis for the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The characteristic features of this transition period as a whole, are the ruthless suppression of the resistance of the exploiters, the organisation of socialist construction, the mass training of men and women in the spirit of socialism and the gradual disappearance of classes. Only to the extent that these great historical tasks are fulfilled will society of the transition period become transformed into Communist society.
Thus, the dictatorship of the world proletariat is an essential and vital condition precedent to the transformation of world capitalist economy into socialist economy. This world dictatorship can be established only when the victory of socialism has been achieved in certain countries or groups of countries, when the newly established proletarian republics enter into a federal union with the already existing proletarian republics, when the number of such federations has grown and extended also to the colonies which have emancipated themselves from the yoke of imperialism, and when these federations of republics have grown finally into a World Union of Soviet Socialist Republics uniting the whole of mankind under the hegemony of the international proletariat organised as a State.
The conquest of power by the proletariat does not mean peacefully “capturing” the ready-made bourgeois State machinery by means of a parliamentary majority. The bourgeoisie resorts to every means of violence and terror to safeguard and strengthen its predatory property and its political domination. Like the feudal nobility of the past, the bourgeoisie cannot abandon its historical position to the new class without a desperate and frantic struggle. Hence, the violence of the bourgeoisie can be suppressed only by the stern violence of the proletariat. The conquest of power by the proletariat is the violent overthrow of bourgeois power, the destruction of the capitalist State apparatus (bourgeois armies, police, bureaucratic hierarchy, the judiciary, parliaments, etc.), and the substitution in its place of new organs of proletarian power, to serve primarily as instruments for the suppression of the exploiters.
As has been shown by the experience of the October revolution of 1917 and by the Hungarian revolution, which immeasurably enlarged the experience of the Paris Commune of 1871, the most suitable form of proletarian state is the Soviet State-a new type of State, which differs in principle from the bourgeois State, not only in its class content, but also in its internal structure. This is precisely the type of State which, emerging as it does directly out of the broadest possible mass movement of the toilers, secures the maximum of mass activity and is, consequently, the surest guarantee of final victory.
The Soviet form of State, being the highest form of democracy, namely, proletarian democracy, is the very opposite of bourgeois democracy, which is bourgeois dictatorship in a masked form. The Soviet State is the dictatorship of the proletariat, the rule of a single class-the proletariat. Unlike bourgeois democracy, proletarian democracy openly admits its class character and aims avowedly at the suppression of the exploiters in the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population. It deprives its class enemies of political rights and, under special historical conditions, may grant the proletariat a number of temporary advantages over the diffused petty bourgeois peasantry in order to strengthen its role of leader. While disarming and suppressing its class enemies, the proletarian State at the same time regards this deprivation of political rights and partial restriction of liberty as temporary measures in the struggle against the attempts on the part of the exploiters to defend or restore their privileges. It inscribes on its banner the motto: the proletariat holds power not for the purpose of perpetuating it, not for the purpose of protecting narrow craft and professional interests, but for the purpose of uniting the backward and scattered rural proletariat, the semi-proletariat and the toiling peasants still more closely with the more progressive strata of the workers, for the purpose of gradually and systematically overcoming class divisions altogether. Being an all-embracing form of the unity and organisation of the masses under the leadership of the proletariat, the Soviets, in actual fact, draw the broad masses of the proletariat, the peasants and all toilers into the struggle for socialism, into the work of building up socialism, and into the practical administration of the State. In the whole of their work they rely upon the working class organisations and practice the principles of broad democracy among the toilers to an extent far greater and immeasurably more close to the masses than does any other form of government. The right of electing and recalling delegates, the combination of the executive with the legislative power, the electoral system based on a productive and not on a residential qualification (election by workshops, factories, etc.)-all this secures for the working class and for the broad masses of the toilers who march under its leadership, systematic, continuous and active participation in all public affairs-economic, social, political, military and cultural-and marks the sharp difference that exists between the bourgeois-parliamentary republic and the Soviet dictatorship of the proletariat.
Bourgeois democracy, with its formal equality of all citizens before the law, is in reality based on a glaring material and economic inequality of classes. By leaving inviolable, defending and strengthening the monopoly of the capitalist and landlord classes in the vital means of production, bourgeois democracy, as far as the exploited classes (especially the proletariat) is concerned, converts this formal equality before the law and these democratic rights and liberties-which in practice are curtailed systematically, into a juridical fiction and, consequently, into a means for deceiving and enslaving the masses. Being the expression of the political domination of the bourgeoisie, so-called democracy is therefore capitalist democracy. By depriving the exploiting classes of the means of production, by placing the monopoly of these means of production in the hands of the proletariat as the dominant class in society, the Soviet State, first and foremost guarantees to the working class and to the toilers generally the material conditions for the exercise of these rights by providing them with premises, public buildings, printing plants, travelling facilities, etc.
In the domain of general political rights the Soviet State, while depriving the exploiters and the enemies of the people of political rights, completely abolishes for the first time all inequalities of citizenship, which under systems of exploitation are based on distinctions of sex, religion and nationality; in this sphere it establishes an equality that is not to be found in any bourgeois country. In this respect also, the dictatorship of the proletariat steadily lays down the material basis upon which this equality may be truly exercised by introducing measures for the emancipation of women, the industrialisation of former colonies, etc.
Soviet democracy, therefore, is proletarian democracy, democracy of the toiling masses, democracy directed against the exploiters.
The Soviet State completely disarms the bourgeoisie and concentrates all arms in the hands of the proletariat; it is the armed proletarian State. The armed forces under the Soviet State are organised on a class basis, which corresponds to the general structure of the proletarian dictatorship, and guarantees the role of leadership to the industrial proletariat. This organisation, while maintaining revolutionary discipline, ensures to the warriors of the Red Army and Navy close and constant contacts with the masses of the toilers, participation in the administration of the country and in the work of building up socialism.
The victorious proletariat utilises the conquest of power as a lever of economic revolution, i.e., the revolutionary transformation of the property relations of capitalism into relationships of the socialist mode of production. The starting point of this great economic revolution is the expropriation of the landlords and capitalists, i.e., the conversion of the monopolist property of the bourgeoisie into the property of the proletarian State.
In this sphere the Communist International advances the following fundamental tasks of the proletarian dictatorship:
(A) Industry, Transport and Communication Services
(a) The confiscation and proletarian nationalisation of all large private capitalist undertakings (factories, works, mines and electric power stations), and the transference of all State and municipal enterprises to the Soviets.
(b) The confiscation and proletarian nationalisation of private capitalist railway, waterway, automobile and air transport services (commercial and passenger air fleet) and the transference of all State and municipal transport services to the Soviets.
(c) The confiscation and proletarian nationalisation of private capitalist communication services (telegraph, telephones and radio) and the transference of State and municipal communication services to the Soviets.
(d) The organisation of workers’ management of industry. The establishment of State organs for the management of industry with provision for the close participation of the trade unions in this work of management. Appropriate functions to be guaranteed for the factory and works councils.
(e) Industrial activity to be directed towards the satisfaction of the needs of the broad masses of the toilers. The reorganisation of the branches of industry that formerly served the needs of the ruling class (luxury trades, etc.). The strengthening of the branches of industry that will facilitate the development of agriculture, with the object of strengthening the ties between industry and peasant economy, of facilitating the development of State farms, and of accelerating the rate of development of national economy as a whole.
(a) The confiscation and proletarian nationalisation of all large landed estates in town and country (private, church, monastery and other lands) and the transference of State and municipal landed property including forests, minerals, lakes, rivers, etc., to the Soviets with subsequent nationalisation of the whole of the land.
(b) The confiscation of all property utilised in production belonging to large landed estates, such as: buildings, machinery, etc., cattle, enterprises for the manufacture of agricultural products (large flour mills, cheese plants, dairy farms, fruit and vegetable drying plants, etc.).
(c) The transfer of large estates, particularly model estates and those of considerable economic importance to the management of the organs of the proletarian dictatorship and of the Soviet farm organisations.
(d) Part of the land confiscated from the landlords and others, particularly where the land was cultivated by the peasants on a tenant basis and served as a means of holding the peasantry in economic bondage-to be transferred to the use of the peasantry (to the poor and partly also to the middle strata of the peasantry). The amount of land to be so transferred to be determined by economic expediency as well as by the degree of necessity to neutralise the peasantry and to win them over to the side of the proletariat; this amount must necessarily vary according to the different circumstances.
(e) Prohibition of buying and selling of land, as a means of preserving the land for the peasantry and preventing its passing into the hands of capitalists, land speculators, etc. Offenders against this law to be severely prosecuted.
(f) To combat usury. All transactions entailing terms of bondage to be annulled. All debts of the exploited strata of the peasantry to be annulled. The poorest stratum of the peasantry to be relieved from taxation, etc.
(g) Comprehensive State measures for developing the productive forces of agriculture; the development of rural electrification; the manufacture of tractors; the production of artificial fertilisers; the production of pure quality seeds and raising thoroughbred stock on Soviet farms; the extensive organisation of agricultural credits for land reclamation, etc.
(h) Financial and other support for agricultural co-operation and for all forms of collective production in the rural districts (co-opera tive societies, communes, etc.). Systematic propaganda in favour of peasant co-operation (selling, credit and supply co-operative societies) to he based on the mass activity of the peasants themselves; propaganda in favour of the transition to large-scale agricultural production which-owing to the undoubted technical and economic advantages of large-scale production-provide the greatest immediate economic gain and also a method of transition to socialism most accessible to the broad masses of the toiling peasants.
(C) Trade and Credit
(a) The proletarian nationalisation of private banks (the entire gold reserve, all securities, deposits, etc., to he transferred to the proletarian State); the proletarian State to take over State, municipal, etc. banks.
(b) The centralisation of banking; all nationalised big banks to be subordinated to the central State bank.
(c) The nationalisation of wholesale trade and large retail trading enterprises (wharehouses, elevators, stores, stocks of goods, etc.), and their transfer to the organs of the Soviet State.
(d) Every encouragement to be given to consumers’ co-operatives as representing an integral part of the distributing apparatus, while preserving uniformity in their system of work and securing the active participation of the masses themselves in their work.
(e) The monopoly of foreign trade.
(f) The repudiation of State debts to foreign and home capitalists.
(D) Conditions of Life, Labour, etc.
(a) Reduction of the working day to seven hours, and to six hours in industries particularly harmful to the health of the workers. Further reduction of the working day and transition to a five-day week in countries with developed productive forces. The regulation of the working day to correspond to the increase of the productivity of labour.
(b) Prohibition, as a rule, of night work and employment in harmful trades for all females. Prohibition of child labour. Prohibition of overtime.
(c) Special reduction of the working day for the youth (a maximum six-hour day for young persons up to 18 years of age). Socialist reorganisation of the labour of young persons so as to combine employment in industry with general and political education.
(d) Social insurance in all forms (sickness, old age, accident, unemployment, etc.), at State expense (and at the expense of the owners of private enterprises where they still exist), insurance affairs to be managed by the insured themselves.
(e) Comprehensive measures of hygiene; the organisation of free medical service. To combat social diseases (alcoholism, venereal diseases, tuberculosis).
(f) Complete equality between men and women before the law and in social life : a radical reform of marriage and family laws; recognition of maternity as a social function; protection of mothers and infants. Initiation of social care and, upbringing of infants and children (creches, kindergarten, children’s homes, etc.). The establishment of institutions that will gradually relieve the burden of house drudgery (public kitchens and laundries), and systematic cultural struggle against the ideology and traditions of female bondage.
(a) The confiscation of big house property.
(b) The transfer of confiscated houses to the administration of the local Soviets.
(c) Workers to be removed to bourgeois residential districts.
(d) Palaces and large private and public buildings to be placed at the disposal of labour organisations.
(e) The carrying out of an extensive programme of house construction.
(F) National and Colonial Questions
(a) The recognition of the right of all nations, irrespective of race, to complete self-determination, that is, self-determination inclusive of the right to State separation.
(b) The voluntary unification and centralisation of the military and economic forces of all nations liberated from capitalism for the purpose of fighting against imperialism and for building up socialist economy.
(c) Wide and determined struggle against the imposition of any kind of limitation and restriction upon any nationality, nation or race. Complete equality for all nations and races.
(d) The Soviet State to guarantee and support with all the resources at its command the national cultures of nations liberated from capitalism, at the same time to carry out a consistent proletarian policy directed towards the development of the content of such cultures.
(e) Every assistance to be rendered to the economic, political and cultural growth of the formerly oppressed “territories,” “ dominions” and “colonies,” with the object of transferring them to socialist lines, so that a durable basis may be laid for complete national equality.
(f) To combat all remnants of chauvinism, national hatred, race prejudices and other ideological products of feudal and capitalist barbarism.
(G) Means of Ideological Influence
(a) The nationalisation of printing plants.
(b) The monopoly of newspapers and book-publishing.
(c) The nationalisation of big cinema enterprises, theatres, etc.
The utilisation of the nationalised means of “intellectual production” for the most extensive political and general education of the toilers and for the building up of a new socialist culture on a proletarian class basis.
In carrying out all these tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the following postulates must be borne in mind:
(1) The complete abolition of private property in land, and the nationalisation of the land, cannot be brought about immediately in the more developed capitalist countries, where the principle of private property is deep-rooted among a broad strata of the peasantry. In such countries, the nationalisation of all land can only be brought about gradually, by means of a series of transitional measures.
(2) Nationalisation of production should not, as a rule, be applied to small and middle-sized enterprises (peasants, small artisans, handicrafts, small and medium shops, small manufacturers, etc.). Firstly, because the proletariat must draw a strict distinction between the property of the small commodity producer working for himself, who can and must be gradually brought into the groove of socialist construction, and the property of the capitalist exploiter, the liquidation of which is an essential condition precedent for socialist construction.
Secondly, because the proletariat, after seizing power, may not have sufficient organising forces at its disposal, particularly in the first phases of the dictatorship, for the purpose of destroying capitalism and at the same time to organise with the smaller and medium individual units of production on a socialist basis. These small individual enterprises (primarily peasant enterprises) will be drawn into the general socialist organisation of production and distribution only gradually, with the powerful and systematic aid which the proletarian State will render to organise them in all the various forms of collective enterprises. Any attempt to break up their economic system violently and to complete them to adopt collective methods by force will only lead to harmful results.
(3) Owing to the prevalence of a large number of small units of production (primarily peasant farms, farmers’ enterprises, small artisans, small shopkeepers, etc.) in colonies, semi-colonies and economically backward countries, where the petty-bourgeois masses represent the overwhelming majority of the population, and even in centres of capitalist world industry (the United States of America, Germany, and to some degree also England), it is necessary, in the first stage of development to preserve to some extent, market forms of economic contacts, the money system, etc. The variety of prevailing economic forms (ranging from socialist large scale industry to small peasant and artisan enterprises), which unavoidably come into conflict with each other; the variety of c1asses and class groups corresponding to this variety of economic forms, each having different stimuli for economic activity and conflicting class interests; and finally, the prevalence in all spheres of economic life, of habits and traditions inherited from bourgeois society, which cannot be removed all at once-all this demands that the proletariat, in exercising its economic leadership, shall properly combine, on the basis of market relationships, large- scale socialist industry with the small enterprises of the simple commodity producers, i.e., it must combine them in such a way as to guarantee the leading role to socialist industry and at the same time bring about the greatest possible development of the mass of peasant enterprises. Hence, the greater the importance of scattered, small peasant labour in the general economy of the country, the greater will be the volume of market relations, the smaller will be the significance of directly planned management, and the greater will be the degree to which the general economic plan will depend upon forecasts of uncontrollable economic relations. On the other hand, the smaller the importance of small production, the greater will be the proportion of socialised labour, the more powerful will be the concentrated and socialised means of production, the smaller will be the volume of market relations, the greater will be the importance of planned management as compared with uncoordinated management and the more considerable and universal will be the application of planned management in the sphere of production and distribution.
Provided the proletarian dictatorship carries out a correct class policy, i.e., provided proper account is taken of class-relationships, the technical and economic superiority of large-scale socialised production, the centralisation of all the most important economic key positions (industry, transport, large-scale agriculture enterprises, banks, etc.) in the hands of the proletarian State, planned management of industry, and the power wielded by the State apparatus as a whole (the budget, taxes, administrative legislation and legislation generally), render it possible continuously and systematically to dislodge private capital and the new outcrops of capitalism which, in the period of more or less free commercial and market relations will emerge in town and country with the development of simple commodity production (big farmers, kulaks). At the same time by organising peasant farming on co-operative lines, and as a result of the growth of collective forms of economy, the great bulk of the peasant enterprises will be systematically drawn into the main channel of developing socialism. The outwardly capitalist forms and methods of economic activity that are bound up with market relations (money form of accounting, payment for labour in money, buying and selling, credit and banks, etc.), serve as levers for the socialist transformation, in so far as they to an increasing degree serve the consistently socialist type of enterprises, i.e., the socialist section of economy.
Thus, provided the State carries out a correct policy, market relations under the proletarian dictatorship destroy themselves in the process of their own development by helping to dislodge private capital, by changing the character of peasant economy-what time the means of production become more and more centralised and concentrated in the hands of the proletarian State-they help to destroy market relations altogether.
In the probable event of capitalist military intervention, and of prolonged counter-revolutionary wars against the dictatorship of the proletariat, the necessity will arise for a war-Communist economic policy (“War Communism “), which is nothing more nor less than the organisation of rational consumption for the purpose of military defence, accompanied by a system of intensified pressure upon the capitalist groups (confiscation, requisitions, etc.), with the more or less complete liquidation of freedom of trade and market relations and a sharp disturbance of the individualist, economic stimuli of the small producers, which results in a diminution of the productive forces of the country. This policy of “War-Communism,” while it undermines the material basis of the strata of the population in the country that are hostile to the working class, secures a rational distribution of the available supplies and facilitates the military struggle of the proletarian dictatorship-which is the historical justification of this policy-nevertheless, cannot be regarded as the “normal” economic policy of the proletarian dictatorship.
The dictatorship of the proletariat is a continuation of the class struggle under new conditions. The dictatorship of the proletariat is a stubborn fight-bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, pedagogical and administrative-against the forces and traditions of the old society, against external capitalist enemies, against the remnants of the exploiting classes within the country, against the upshoots of the new bourgeoisie that spring up on the basis of still prevailing commodity production.
After the civil war has been brought to an end the stubborn class struggle continues in new forms; primarily in the form of a struggle between the survivals of previous economic systems and fresh upshoots of them on the one hand, and socialist forms of economy on the other. The forms of the struggle undergo a change at various stages of socialist development, and in the first stages, the struggle, under certain conditions, may be extremely severe.
In the initial stage of the proletarian dictatorship, the policy of the proletariat towards other classes and social groups within the country is determined by the following postulates:
(1) The big bourgeoisie and the landowners, a section of the officer corps, the higher command of the forces, and the higher bureaucracy-who remain loyal to the bourgeoisie and the landlords-are consistent enemies of the working class against whom ruthless war must be waged. The organising skill of a certain section of these strata may be utilised, but as a rule, only after the dictatorship has been consolidated and all conspiracies and rebellions of exploiters have been decisively crushed.
(2) In regard to the technical intelligentsia, which was brought up in the spirit of bourgeois traditions and the higher ranks of which were closely linked up with the commanding apparatus of capital-the proletariat, while ruthlessly suppressing every counter-revolutionary action on the part of hostile sections of the intelligentsia, must at the same time give consideration to the necessity of utilising this skilled social force for the work of socialist construction; it must give every encouragement to the groups that are neutral, and especially to those that are friendly towards the proletarian revolution. In widening the economic, technical and cultural perspectives of socialist construction to its utmost social limits, the proletariat must systematically win over the technical intelligentsia to its side, subject it to its ideological influence and secure its close co-operation in the work of social reconstruction.
(3) In regard to the peasantry, the task of the Communist Parties, is, while placing its reliance in the agricultural proletariat, to win over all the exploited and toiling strata of the countryside. The victorious proletariat must draw strict distinctions between the various groups among the peasantry, weigh their relative importance, and render every support to the propertyless and semi-proletarian sections of the peasantry by transferring to them a part of the land taken from the big landowners and by helping them in their struggle against usurer’s capital, etc. Moreover, the proletariat must neutralise the middle strata of the peasantry and mercilessly suppress the slightest opposition on the part of the village bourgeoisie who ally themselves with the landowners. As its dictatorship become consolidated and socialist construction develops, the proletariat must proceed from the policy of neutralisation to a policy of durable alliance with the masses of middle peasantry, but must not adopt the viewpoint of sharing power in any form. The dictatorship of the proletariat implies that the industrial workers alone are capable of leading the entire mass of the toilers. On the other hand, while representing the rule of a single class, the dictatorship of the proletariat at the same time represents a special form of class alliance between the proletariat, as the vanguard of the toilers, and the numerous non-proletarian sections of the toiling masses, or the majority of them. It represents an alliance for the complete overthrow of capital, for the complete suppression of the opposition of the bourgeoisie and its attempts at restoration, an alliance aiming at the complete building up and consolidation of socialism.
The petty urban bourgeoisie, which continuously wavers between extreme reaction and sympathy for the proletariat, must likewise be neutralised and as far as possible, won over to the side of the proletariat. This can be achieved by leaving to them their small property and permitting a certain measure of free trade, by releasing them from the bondage of usurious credit and by the proletariat helping them in all sorts of ways in the struggle against all and every form of capitalist oppression.
In the process of fulfilling these tasks of the proletarian dictatorship, a radical change takes place in the tasks and functions of the mass organisations, particularly of the Labour organisations. Under capitalism, the mass labour organisations, in which the broad masses of the proletariat were originally organised and trained, i.e., the trade (industrial) unions, serve as the principal weapons in the struggle against trustified capital and its State. Under the proletarian dictatorship, they become transformed into the principal lever of the State; they become transformed into a school of Communism by means of which vast masses of the proletariat are drawn into the work of socialist management of production; they are transformed into organisations directly connected with all parts of the State apparatus, influencing all branches of its work, safeguarding the permanent and day to day interests of the working class and fighting against bureaucracy in the departments of the State. Thus, in so far as they promote from their ranks leaders in the work of construction, drawn into this work of construction broad sections of the proletariat and aim at combatting bureaucracy, which inevitably arises as a result of the operation of class influences alien to the proletariat and of the inadequate cultural development of the masses, the trade unions become the backbone of the proletarian economic and State organisation as a whole.
Notwithstanding reformist utopias, working class co-operative organisations under capitalism are doomed to play a very minor role and in the general environment of the capitalist system not infrequently degenerate into mere appendages of capitalism. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, however, these organisations can and must become the most important units of the distributing apparatus.
Lastly, peasant agricultural co-operative organisations (selling, purchasing, credit and producing), under proper management, and provided a systematic struggle is carried on against the capitalist elements, and that really broad masses of the toilers who follow the lead of the proletariat take a really active part in their work, can and must become one of the principal organisational means for linking up town and country. To the extent that they were able to maintain their existence at all under capitalism, co-operative peasant enterprises inevitably became transformed into capitalist enterprises, for they were dependent upon capitalist industry, capitalist banks and upon capitalist economic environment. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, however, such enterprises develop amidst a different system of relationships, depend upon proletarian industry, proletarian banks, etc. Thus, provided the proletariat carries out a proper policy, provided the class struggle is systematically conducted against the capitalist elements outside as well as inside the co-operative organisations, and provided socialist industry exercises its guidance over it, agricultural co-operation will become one of the principal levers for the socialist transformation and collectivisation of the countryside. All this, however, does not exclude the possibility that in certain countries the consumers’ societies, and particularly the agricultural co-operative societies led by the bourgeoisie and their social-democratic agents will at first be hotbed of counter-revolutionary activity and sabotage against the work of economic construction of the workers’ revolution.
In the course of this militant and constructive work, carried on through the medium of these multifarious proletarian organisations-which should serve as effective levers of the Soviet State and the link between it and the masses of all strata of the working class-the proletariat secures unity of will and action, and exercises this unity through the medium of the Communist Party, which plays the leading role in the system of the proletarian dictatorship.
The Party of the proletariat relies directly on the trade unions and other organisations that embrace the masses of the workers, and through these relies on the peasantry (Soviets, co-operative societies, Young Communist League, etc.); by means of these levers it guides the whole Soviet system. The proletariat can fulfil its role as organiser of the new society only if the Soviet Government is loyally supported by all the mass organisations; only if class unity is maintained, and only under the guidance of the Party.
The role of organiser of the new human society presupposes that the proletariat itself will become culturally mature, that it will transform it own nature, that it will continually promote from its ranks increasing numbers of men and women capable of mastering science, technique and administration in order to build up socialism and a new socialist culture.
Bourgeois revolution against feudalism presupposes that a new class has arisen in the midst of feudal society that is culturally more advanced than the ruling class, and is already the dominant factor in economic life. The proletarian revolution, however, develops under other conditions. Being economically exploited, politically oppressed and culturally downtrodden under capitalism, the working class transforms its own nature only in the course of the transition period, only after it has conquered State power, only by destroying the bourgeois monopoly of education and mastering all the sciences, and only after it has gained experience in the great work of construction. The mass awakening of Communist consciousness, the cause of socialism itself, calls for a mass change of human nature, which can be achieved only in the course of the practical movement, in revolution. Hence revolution is not only necessary because there is no other way of overthrowing the ruling class, but also because only in the process of revolution is the overthrowing class able to purge itself of the dross of the old society and become capable of creating a new society.
In destroying the capitalist monopoly of the means of production, the working class must also destroy the capitalist monopoly of education, that is, it must take possession of all the schools, from the elementary schools to the universities. It is particularly important for the proletariat to train members of the working class as experts in the sphere of production (engineers, technicians, organisers, etc.), as well as in the sphere of military affairs, science, art, etc. Parallel with this work stands the task of raising the general cultural level of the proletarian masses, of improving their political education, of raising their general standard of knowledge and technical skill, of training them in the methods of public work and administration, and of combatting the survivals of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois prejudices, etc.
Only to the extent that the proletariat promotes from its own ranks a body of men and women capable of occupying the key positions of socialist construction, only to the extent that this body grows, and draws increasing numbers of the working class into the process of revolutionary-cultural transformation and gradually obliterates the line that divides the proletariat into an “ advanced” and a “ backward section will the guarantees be created for successful socialist construction and against bureaucratic decay and class degeneracy.
However, in the process of revolution the proletariat not only changes its own nature, but also the nature of other classes, primarily the numerous petty-bourgeois strata in town and country and especially the toiling sections of the peasantry. By drawing the wide masses into the process of cultural revolution and socialist construction, by uniting and communistically educating them with all the means at its disposal, by strongly combatting all anti-proletarian and narrow craft ideologies, and by persistently and systematically overcoming the general and cultural backwardness of the rural districts, the working class, on the basis of the developing collective forms of economy, prepares the way for the complete removal of class divisions in society.
One of the most important tasks of the cultural revolution affecting the wide masses, is the task of systematically and unswervingly combatting religion-the opium of the people. The proletarian government must withdraw all State support from the Church, which is the agency of the former ruling class; it must prevent all church interference in State-organised educational affairs, and ruthlessly suppress the counter-revolutionary activity of the ecclesiastical organisations. At the same time, the proletarian State, while granting liberty of worship and abolishing the privileged position of the formerly dominant religion, carries on anti-religious propaganda with all the means at its command and reconstructs the whole of its educational work, on the basis of scientific materialism.
The international proletarian revolution represents a combination of processes which vary in time and character; purely proletarian revolutions; revolutions of a bourgeois-democratic type which grow into proletarian revolutions; wars for national liberation; colonial revolutions. The world dictatorship of the proletariat comes only as the final result of the revolutionary process.
The uneven development of capitalism, which became more accentuated in the period of imperialism, has given rise to a variety of types of capitalism, to different stages of ripeness of capitalism in different countries, and to a variety of specific conditions of the revolutionary process. These circumstances make it historically inevitable that the proletariat will come to power by a multiplicity of ways and degrees of rapidity; that a number of countries must pass through certain transition stages leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat and must adopt varied forms of socialist construction.
The variety of conditions and ways by which the proletariat will achieve its dictatorship in the various countries may be divided schematically into three main types.
Countries of highly-developed capitalism (United States of America, Germany, Great Britain, etc.), having powerful productive forces, highly centralised production, with small scale production reduced to relative insignificance, and a long established bourgeois-democratic political system. In such countries the fundamental political demand of the programme is direct transition to the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the economic sphere, the most characteristic demands are: expropriation of the whole of the large-scale industry; organisation of a large number of State Soviet farms and, in contrast to this, a relatively small portion of the land to be transferred to the peasantry; unregulated market relations to be given comparatively small scope; rapid rate of socialist development generally, and of collectivisation of peasant farming in particular.
Countries with a medium development of capitalism (Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, the Balkan countries, etc.), having numerous survivals of semi-feudal relationships in agriculture, possessing, to a certain extent, the material pre-requisites for socialist construction, and in which the bourgeois-democratic reforms have not yet been completed. In some of these countries a process of more or less rapid development from bourgeois democratic revolution to socialist revolution is possible. In others, there may be types of proletarian revolution which will have a large number of bourgeois-democratic tasks to fulfil. Hence, in these countries, the dictatorship of the proletariat may not come about at once, but in the process of transition from the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry to the socialist dictatorship of the proletariat. Where the revolution develops directly as a proletarian revolution it is presumed that the proletariat exercises leadership over a broad agrarian peasant movement. In general, the agrarian revolution plays a most important part in these countries, and in some cases a decisive role :-in the process of expropriating large landed property a considerable portion of the confiscated land is placed at the disposal of the peasantry; the volume of market relations prevailing after the victory of the proletariat is considerable; the task of organising the peasantry along co-operative lines and later, of combining them in production, occupies an important place among the tasks of socialist construction. The rate of this construction is relatively slow.
Colonial and semi-colonial countries (China, India, etc.) and dependent countries (Argentine, Brazil, etc.), have the rudiments of and in some cases a considerably developed industry-in the majority of cases inadequate for independent socialist construction-with feudal medieval relationships, or “Asiatic mode of production” relationships prevailing in their economies and in their political superstructures. In these the principal industrial, commercial and banking enterprises, the principal means of transport, the large landed estates (latifundia), plantations, etc., are concentrated in the hands of foreign imperialist groups. The principal task in such countries is, on the one hand, to fight against the feudal and pre-capitalist forms of exploitation, and to develop systematically the peasant agrarian revolution; on the other hand, to fight against foreign imperialism for national independence. As a rule, transition to the dictatorship of the proletariat in these countries will be possible only through a series of preparatory stages, as the outcome of a whole period of transformation of bourgeois-democratic revolution into socialist revolution, while in the majority of cases, successful socialist construction will be possible only if direct support is obtained from the countries in which the proletarian dictatorship is established.
In still more backward countries (as in some parts of Africa) where there are no wage workers or very few, where the majority of the population still lives in tribal conditions, where survivals of primitive tribal forms still exist, where the national bourgeoisie is almost non-existent, where the primary role of foreign imperialism is that of military occupation and usurpation of land, the central task is to fight for national independence. Victorious national uprisings in these countries may open the way for their direct development towards socialism and their avoidance of the stage of capitalism, provided real and powerful assistance is rendered them by the countries in which the proletarian dictatorship is established.
Thus, in the epoch in which the proletariat in the most developed capitalist countries is confronted with the immediate task of capturing power-that in which the dictatorship of the proletariat already established in the U.S.S.R. is a factor of world significance-the movement for liberation in colonial and semi-colonial countries, which was brought into being by the penetration of world capitalism, may lead to social development-notwithstanding the immaturity of social relationships in these countries taken by themselves-provided they receive the-assistance and support of the proletarian dictatorship and of the international proletarian movement generally.
The special conditions of the revolutionary struggle prevailing in colonial and semi-colonial countries, the inevitably long period of struggle required for the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry and for the transformation of this dictatorship into the dictatorship of the proletariat, and, finally, the decisive importance of the national aspects of the struggle, impose upon the Communist Parties of these countries a number of special tasks, which are preparatory stages to the general tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Communist International considers the following to be the most important of these special tasks:
(1) To overthrow the rule of foreign imperialism, of the feudal rulers and of the landlord bureaucracy.
(2) To establish the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry on a Soviet basis.
(3) Complete national independence and national unification,
(4) Annulment of State debts.
(5) Nationalisation of large-scale enterprises (industrial, transport, banking and others) owned by the imperialists.
(6) The confiscation of landlord, church and monastery lands. The nationalisation of all the land.
(7) Introduction of the 8-hour day.
(8) The organisation of revolutionary workers’ and peasants’ armies.
In the colonies and semi-colonies where the proletariat is the leader of and commands hegemony in the struggle, the consistent bourgeois-democratic revolution will grow into proletarian revolution in proportion as the struggle develops and becomes more intense (sabotage by the bourgeoisie, confiscation of the enterprises belonging to the sabotaging section of the bourgeoisie, which inevitably extends to the nationalisation of the whole of large-scale industry). In the colonies where there is no proletariat, the overthrow of the domination of the imperialists implies the establishment of the rule of people’s (peasant) Soviets, the confiscation and transfer to the State of foreign enterprises and lands.
Colonial revolutions and movements for national liberation play an extremely important part in the struggle against imperialism, and in the struggle for the conquest of power by the working class. Colonies and semi-colonies are also important in the transition period because they represent the world rural district in relation to the industrial countries, which represent the world city. Consequently the problem of organising socialist world economy, of properly combining industry with agriculture is, to a large extent, the problem of the relation towards the former colonies of imperialism. Hence the establishment of a fraternal, militant alliance with the masses of the toilers in the colonies represents one of the principal tasks the world industrial proletariat must fulfil as leader in the struggle against imperialism.
Thus, in rousing the workers in the home countries for the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, the progress of the world revolution also rouses hundreds of millions of colonial workers and peasants for the struggle against foreign imperialism. In view of the existence of centres of socialism represented by Soviet Republics of growing economic power, the colonies which break away from imperialism economically gravitate towards and gradually combine with the industrial centres of world socialism, are drawn into the current of socialist construction, and by skipping the further stage of development of capitalism, as a dominating system, obtain opportunities for rapid economic and cultural progress. The Peasants’ Soviets in the backward ex-colonies and ,the Workers’ and Peasants’ Soviets in the more developed ex-colonies group themselves politically around the centres of proletarian dictatorship, join the growing Federation of Soviet Republics, and thus enter the general system of the world proletarian dictatorship.
Socialism, as the new method of production, thus obtains worldwide scope of development.
The principal manifestation of the profound crisis of the capitalist system is the division of world economy into capitalist countries on the one hand, and countries building up socialism on the other. Therefore, the internal consolidation of the proletarian dictatorship in the U.S.S.R., the success achieved in he work of socialist construction, the growth of the influence and authority of the U.S.S.R. among the masses of the proletariat and the oppressed peoples of the colonies, signify the continuation, intensification and expansion of the international social revolution.
Possessing in the country the necessary and sufficient material pre-requisites not only for the overthrow of the landlord and the bourgeoisie, but also for the establishment of complete socialism, the workers of the Soviet Republic, with the aid of the international proletariat, heroically repelled the attacks of the armed forces of the internal and foreign counter-revolution, consolidated their alliance with the bulk of the peasantry and achieved considerable success in the sphere of socialist construction.
The contacts established between proletarian socialist industry and small peasant economy, which stimulates the growth of the productive forces of agriculture, and at the same time assures a leading role to socialist industry; the linking up of industry with agriculture in place of capitalist production for the satisfaction of the unproductive consumption of parasitic classes that was the system formerly; production, not for capitalist profit, but for the satisfaction of the growing needs of the masses of the consumers; the growth of the needs of the masses, which in the final analysis greatly stimulates the entire productive process; and, finally, the close concentration of the economic key positions under the command of the proletarian State, the growth of planned management and the more economic and expedient distribution of the means of production that goes with it-all this enables the proletariat to make rapid progress along the road of socialist construction.
In raising the level of the productive forces of the whole economy of the country, and in steering a straight course for the industrialisation of the U.S.S.R. – the rapidity of which is dictated by the international and internal situation-the proletariat in the U.S.S.R., notwithstanding the systematic attempts on the part of the capitalist Powers to organise an economic and financial boycott against the Soviet Republics, at the same time increases the relative share of the socialised (socialist) section of national economy in the total means of production in the country, in the total output of industry and in the total trade turnover.
Thus, with the land nationalised, by means of the levers of State trade and rapidly growing co-operation, and with the increasing industrialisation of the country, State socialist industry, transport and banking are more and more guiding the activities of the small and very small peasant enterprises.
In the sphere of agriculture especially the level of the forces of production is being raised amidst conditions that restrict the process of differentiation among the peasantry (nationalisation of the land, and consequently the prohibition of the sale and purchase of land; sharply graded progressive taxation; the financing of poor and middle class peasants’ co-operative societies and producers’ organisations; laws regulating the hiring of labour; depriving the kulaks of certain political and public rights; organising the rural poor in separate organisations, etc.). However, in so far as the productive forces of socialist industry have not yet grown sufficiently to enable a broad, new technical base to be laid for agriculture, and consequently to render possible the immediate and rapid unification of peasant enterprises into large public enterprises (collective farms), the kulak class tends to grow and establish, first economic and then political contacts with the elements of the so-called “new bourgeoisie.”
Being in command of the principal economic key positions in the country, and systematically squeezing out the remnants of urban and private capital, which has greatly dwindled in the last few years of the “New Economic Policy"-restricting in every way the exploiting strata in the rural districts that arise out of the development of commodity and money relationships; supporting existing Soviet farms in the rural districts and establishing new ones; drawing the bulk of the peasant simple commodity producers, through the medium of rapidly growing co-operative organisations, into the general system of Soviet economic organisation, and consequently into the work of socialist construction, which, in the conditions prevailing under the proletarian dictatorship, and with the economic leadership of socialist industry, is identical with the development of socialism; passing from the process of restoration to the process of expanded reproduction of the entire productive and technical base of the country-the proletariat of the U.S.S.R. sets itself, and is already beginning to fulfil the task of large-scale capital construction (production of means of production generally, development of heavy industry, and especially of electrification), and developing still further selling, buying and credit co-operation, sets itself the task of organising the peasantry in producing co-operatives on a mass scale and on a collectivist basis, which calls for the powerful material assistance of the proletarian State.
Thus, being already a decisive economic force determining, in the main, the entire economic development of the U.S.S.R., socialism by that very fact makes’ still further strides in its development and systematically overcomes the difficulties that arise from the petty-bourgeois character of the country and the periods of temporarily acute class antagonism.
The task of re-equipping industry and the need for large investments in capital construction, unavoidably give rise to serious difficulties in the path of socialist development which, in the last analysis, are to be attributed to the technical and economic backwardness of the country and to the ruin caused in the years of the imperialist and civil wars. Notwithstanding this, however, the standard of living of the working class and of the broad masses of the toilers is steadily rising and simultaneously with the socialist rationalisation and scientific organisation of industry, the 7-hour day is gradually being introduced, which opens up still wider prospects for the improvement of the conditions of life and labour of the working class.
Standing on the basis of the economic growth of the U.S.S.R. and on the steady increase in the relative importance of the socialist section of industry; never for a moment halting in the struggle against the kulaks; relying upon the rural poor and maintaining a firm alliance with the bulk of the middle peasantry, the working class, united and led by the Communist Party, which has been hardened in revolutionary battles, draws increasing masses, scores of millions of toilers into the work of socialist construction. The principal means employed towards this aim are: the development of broad mass organisations (the Party, as the guiding force; the trade unions, as the backbone of the entire system of the proletarian dictatorship; the Young Communist League; co-operative societies of all types; working women’s and peasant women’s organisations; the various so-called “voluntary societies” ; worker and peasant correspondents’ societies; sport, scientific, cultural and educational organisations); full encouragement of the initiative of the masses and the promotion of fresh strata of workers to high posts in all spheres of industry and administration. The steady attraction of the masses into the process of socialist construction, the constant renovation of the entire State, economic, trade union and Party apparatus with men and women fresh from the ranks of the proletariat, the systematic training in the higher educational establishments and at special courses of workers generally and young workers in particular as new socialist experts in all branches of construction-all these together serve as one of the principal guarantees against the bureaucratic ossification or social degeneration of the stratum of the proletariat directly engaged in administration.
Having defeated Russian imperialism and liberated all the former colonies and oppressed nations of the Tsarist Empire, and systematically laid a firm foundation for their cultural and political development by industrialising their territories; having guaranteed the juridical position of the Autonomous Territories, Autonomous Republics and Allied Republics in the Constitution of the Union and having granted in full the right of nations to self-determination-the dictatorship of the proletariat in the U.S.S.R., by this guarantees, not only formal, but also real equality for the different nationalities in the Union.
Being the land of the dictatorship of the proletariat and of socialist construction, the land of great working class achievements, of the union of the workers with the peasants and of a new culture marching under the banner of Marxism-the U.S.S.R. inevitably becomes the base of the world movement of all oppressed classes, the centre of international revolution, the greatest factor in world history. In the U.S,S.R., the world proletariat for the first time acquires a country that is really its own, and for the colonial movements the U.S.S.R. becomes a powerful centre of attraction.
Thus, the U.S.S.R. is an extremely important factor in the general crisis of capitalism, not only because it has dropped out of the world capitalist system and has created a basis for a new socialist system of production, but also because it plays an exceptionally great revolutionary role generally; it is the international driving force of proletarian revolution that impels the proletariat of all countries to seize power; it is the living example proving that the working class is not only capable of destroying capitalism, but of building up socialism as well; it is the prototype of the fraternity of nationalities in all lands united in the World Union of Socialist Republics and of the economic unity of the toilers of all countries in a single world socialist economic system that the world proletariat must establish when it has captured political power.
The simultaneous existence of two economic systems; the socialist system in the U.S.S.R. and the capitalist system in other countries, imposes on the Proletarian State the task of warding off the blows showered upon it by the capitalist world (boycott, blockade, etc.), and also compels it to resort to economic manoeuvring and the utilisation of economic contacts with capitalist countries (with the aid of the monopoly of foreign trade-which is one of the fundamental conditions for the successful building up of socialism, and also with the aid of credits, loans, concessions, etc.). The principal and fundamental line to be followed in this connection must be the line of establishing the widest possible contact with foreign countries-within limits determined by their usefulness to the U.S.S.R., i.e., primarily for strengthening industry in the U.S.S.R., for laying the base for its own heavy industry and electrification, and finally, for the development of its socialist engineering industry. Only to the extent that the economic independence of the U.S.S.R. in the capitalist environment is secured can solid guarantees be obtained against the danger that socialist construction in the U.S.S.R. may be destroyed and that the U.S.S.R. may be transformed into an appendage of the world capitalist system.
On the other hand, notwithstanding their interest in the markets of the U.S.S.R., the capitalist States continually vacillate between their commercial interests and their fear of the growth of the U.S.S.R., which means the growth of international revolution. However, the principal and fundamental tendency in the policy of imperialist Powers is to encircle the U.S.S.R. and conduct counter-revolutionary war against it in order to strangle it and to establish a world bourgeois terrorist regime.
The systematic imperialist attempts politically to encircle the U.S.S.R., and the growing danger of an armed attack upon her, do not, however, prevent the Communist Party of the Soviet Union-a section of the Communist International and the leader of the proletarian dictatorship in the U.S.S.R.-from fulfilling its international obligations and from rendering support to all the oppressed, to the Labour movements in capitalist countries, to colonial movements against imperialism and to the struggle against national oppression in every form.
In view of the fact that the U.S.S.R. is the only fatherland of the international proletariat, the principal bulwark of its achievements and the most important factor for its international emancipation, the international proletariat must on its part facilitate the success of the work of socialist construction in the U.S.S.R., and defend it against the attacks of the capitalist Powers by all the means in its power.
“The world political situation has made the dictatorship of the proletariat an immediate issue, and all the events of world politics are inevitably concentrating around one central point, namely, the struggle of the world bourgeoisie against the Soviet Russian Republic, which must inevitably group around itself the Soviet movements of the advanced workers of all countries on the one hand, and all the national liberation movements of the colonial and oppressed nationalities on the other.” -( Lenin.)
In the colonies, and particularly the colonies of any imperialist attacking the U.S.S.R., the international proletariat must retaliate by organising bold and determined mass action and struggle for the overthrow of the imperialist governments with the slogan of: Dictatorship of the proletariat and alliance with the U.S.S.R.
In the colonies, and particularly the colonies of the imperialist country attacking the U.S.S.R., every effort must be made to take advantage of the diversion of the imperialist military forces to develop an anti-imperialist struggle and to organise revolutionary action for the purpose of throwing off the yoke of imperialism and of winning complete independence.
The development of socialism in the U.S.S.R. and the growth of its international influence not only rouse the hatred of the capitalist States and their social-democratic agents against it, but also inspire the toilers all over the world with sympathy towards it, and stimulate the readiness of the oppressed classes of all countries to fight with all the means in their power for the land of the proletarian dictatorship, in the event of an imperialist attack thereupon.
Thus the development of the contradictions within modern world economy, the development of the general capitalist crisis, and the imperialist military attack upon the Soviet Union inevitably lead to a mighty revolutionary outbreak which must overwhelm capitalism in a number of the so-called civilised countries, unleash the victorious revolution in the colonies, broaden the base of the proletarian dictatorship to an enormous degree, and thus, with tremendous strides bring nearer the final world victory of socialism.
In its fight against capitalism for the dictatorship of the proletariat, revolutionary Communism encounters numerous tendencies among the working class, which to a greater or less degree express the ideological subordination of the proletariat to the imperialist bourgeoisie, or reflect the ideological influence exercised upon the proletariat by the petty-bourgeoisie, which at times rebels against the shackles of finance capital, but is\incapable of adopting sustained and scientifically planned strategy and tactics or of carrying on the struggle in an organised manner on the basis of the stern discipline that is characteristic of the proletariat.
The mighty social power of the imperialist State, with its auxiliary apparatus, schools, press, theatre and church-is primarily reflected in the existence of religious and reformist tendencies among the working class, which represent the main obstacles on the road towards the proletarian social revolution.
The religious-sectarian tendency among the working class, finds expression in religious-sectarian trade unions, which are frequently connected directly with corresponding bourgeois political organisations, and are affiliated to one or other of the church organisations of the dominant class (Catholic trade unions, Young Men’s Christian Association, Jewish Zionist organisations, etc.) All these tendencies, being the most striking product of the ideological enslavement of certain strata of the proletariat, bear, in most cases, a romantic feudal tinge. By sanctifying all the abominations of the capitalist regime with the holy water of religion, and by terrorising their flock with the spectre of punishment in the world to come, the leaders of these organisations serve as the most reactionary units of the class enemy in the camp of the proletariat.
A cynically commercial, and imperialist-secular mode of subjecting the proletariat to the ideological influence of the bourgeoisie is represented by contemporary “socialist” reformism. Taking its main gospel from the tablets of imperialist politics, its model to-day is the deliberately anti-socialist and openly counter-revolutionary “American Federation of Labour.” The ideological dictatorship of the servile American trade union bureaucracy, which in its turn expresses the ideological dictatorship of the American dollar, has become, through the medium of British reformism and His Majesty’s Socialists of the British Labour Party, a most important ingredient in the theory and practice of international social democracy and of the leaders of the Amsterdam International, while the leaders of German and Austrian social democracy embellish these theories with Marxian phraseology in order to cover up their utter betrayal of Marxism. “Socialist” reformism, the principal enemy of revolutionary Communism in the labour movement, which has a broad organisational base in the social democratic parties and through these in the reformist trade unions, stands out in its entire policy and theoretical outlook as a force directed against the proletarian revolution.
In the sphere of foreign politics, the social democratic parties actively supported the imperialist war on the pretext of “defending the fatherland.” Imperialist expansion and “colonial policy” received their wholehearted support. Orientation towards the counter- revolutionary “Holy Alliance” of imperialist Powers (“The League of Nations”), advocacy of ultra-imperialism, mobilisation of the masses under pseudo-pacifist slogans, and at the same time, active support of imperialism in its attacks upon the U.S.S.R. and in the impending war against the U.S.S.R.-are main features of reformist foreign policy.
In the sphere of home politics, social democracy has set itself the task of directly co-operating with and supporting the capitalist régime. Complete support for capitalist rationalisation and stabilisation, class peace, “peace in industry”; the policy of converting the labour organisations into organisations of the employers and of the predatory imperialist State; the practice of so-called “industrial democracy” which in fact means complete subordination to trustified capital; adoration of the imperialist State and particularly of its false democratic labels; active participation in the building up of the organs of the imperialist State-police, army, gendarmerie, its class judiciary-the defence of the state against the encroachments of the revolutionary Communist proletariat; and the executioner’s role played in time of revolutionary crisis-such is the line of social-democratic reformist home policy. While pretending to conduct the industrial struggle, reformism considers its function in this field to be to conduct that struggle in such a manner as to guard the capitalist class against any kind of shock, or, at all events, to preserve in complete inviolability the foundations of capitalist property.
In the sphere of theory, social democracy has utterly and completely betrayed Marxism, having traversed the road from revisionism to complete liberal bourgeois reformism and avowed social-imperialism. It has substituted in place of the Marxian theory of the contradictions of capitalism the bourgeois theory of its harmonious development; it has pigeon-holed the theory of crisis and of the pauperisation of the proletariat; it has turned the flaming and menacing theory of class struggle into prosaic advocacy of class peace; it has exchanged the theory of growing class antagonisms for the petty-bourgeois fairy-tale about the “democratisation” of capital; in place of the theory of the inevitability of war under capitalism it has substituted the bourgeois deceit of pacifism and the lying propaganda of “ultra-imperialism”; it has exchanged the theory of the revolutionary downfall of capitalism for the counterfeit coinage of “sound” capitalism transforming itself peacefully into socialism; it has replaced revolution by evolution, the destruction of the bourgeois State by its active upbuilding, the theory of proletarian dictatorship by the theory of coalition with the bourgeoisie, the doctrine of international proletarian solidarity-by preaching defence of the imperialist fatherland; for Marxian dialectical materialism it has substituted the idealist philosophy and is now engaged in picking up the crumbs of religion that fall from the table of the bourgeoisie.
Within social democratic reformism a number of tendencies stand out that are characteristic of the bourgeois degeneracy of social democracy.
Constructive socialism (MacDonald and Co.), which, by its very name suggests the struggle against the revolutionary proletariat and a favourable attitude towards the capitalist system, continues the liberal philanthropic, anti-revolutionary and bourgeois traditions of Fabianism (Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Bernard Shaw, Lord Olivier, etc.). While repudiating the dictatorship of the proletariat and the use of violence in the struggle against the bourgeoisie as a matter of principle, it favours violence in the struggle against the proletariat and the colonial peoples. While acting as the apologists of the capitalist State and preaching State capitalism under the guise of socialism, and in conjunction with the most vulgar ideologists of imperialism in both hemispheres-declaring the theory of the class struggle to be a “pre-scientific” theory, “constructive socialism” ostensibly advocates a moderate programme of nationalisation with compensation, taxation of land values, death duties, and taxation of surplus profits as a means of abolishing capitalism. Being resolutely opposed to the dictatorship of the proletariat in the U.S.S.R., “ constructive socialism,” in complete alliance with the bourgeoisie, is an active enemy of the Communist proletarian moven~ent and of colonial revolutions.
A special variety of “constructive socialism” is “co-operativism” or “co-operative socialism” (Charles Gide and Co.), which also strongly repudiates the class struggle and advocates the co-operative organisation of consumers as a means of overcoming capitalism, but which, in fact, does all it can to help the stabilisation of capitalism. Having at its command. an extensive propagandist apparatus, in the shape of the mass consumers’ co-operative organisations, which it employs for the purpose of systematically influencing the masses, “co-operativism” carries on a fierce struggle against the revolutionary Labour movement, hampers it in the achievement of its aims, and represents to-day one of the most potent factors in the camp of the reformist counter-revolution.
So-called “Guild socialism” (Penty, Orage, Hobson and others) is an eclectic attempt to unite “ revolutionary” syndicalism with bourgeois Liberal Fabianism, anarchist decentralisation (“ national industrial guilds “) with State capitalist centralisation and medieval guild and craft narrowness with modern capitalism. Starting out with the ostensible demand for the abolition of the “wage system” as an “immoral” institution which must be abolished by means of workers’ control of industry, guild socialism completely ignores the most important question, viz., the question of power. While striving to unite workers, intellectuals, and technicians into a federation of national industrial “guilds,” and to convert these guilds by peaceful means (“control from within”) into organs for the administration of industry within the framework of the bourgeois State, guild socialism actually defends the bourgeois State, obscures its class, imperialist and anti-proletarian character, and allots to it the function of the non-class representative of the interests of the “consumers” as against the guild-organised “producers.” By its advocacy of “functional democracy,” i.e., representation of classes in capitalist society-each class being presumed to have a definite social and productive function-guild socialism paves the way for the Fascist “corporate State.” By repudiating both parliamentarism and “direct action,” the majority of the guild socialists doom the working class to inaction and passive subordination to the bourgeoisie. Thus guild socialism represents a peculiar form of trade unionist utopian opportunism, and as such cannot but play an anti-revolutionary role.
Lastly, Austro-Marxism represents a special variety of social-democratic reformism. Being a part of the “left-wing” of social-democracy, Austro-Marxism represents a most subtle deception of the masses of the toilers. Prostituting the terminology of Marxism, while divorcing themselves entirely from the principles of revolutionary Marxism (the Kantism, Machism, etc., of the Austro-Marxists in the domain of philosophy), toying with religion, borrowing the theory of functional democracy” from the British reformists, agreeing with the principle of “building up the republic,” i.e., building up the bourgeois State, Austro-Marxism recommends “class co-operation” in periods of so-called “ equilibrium of class forces,” i.e., precisely at the time when the revolutionary crisis is maturing. This theory is a justification of coalition with the bourgeoisie for the overthrow of the proletarian revolution under the guise of defending “democracy” against the attacks of reaction. Objectively, and in practice, the violence which Austro-Marxism admits in cases of reactionary attacks is converted into reactionary violence against the proletarian revolution. Hence the “functional role” of Austro-Marxism is to deceive the workers already marching towards Communism, and therefore it is the most dangerous enemy of the proletariat, more dangerous than the avowed adherents of predatory social imperialism.
All the above-mentioned tendencies, being constituent parts of “socialist” reformism, are agencies of the imperialist bourgeoisie within the working class itself. But Communism has to contend also against a number of petty-bourgeois tendencies, which reflect and express the vacillation of the unstable strata of society (the urban petty-bourgeoisie, the degenerate city middle class, the lumpen-proletariat, the declassed Bohemian intellectuals, the pauperised artisans, certain strata of the peasantry, etc.). These tendencies, which are distinguishable by their extreme political instability, often cover up a right-wing policy which left-wing phraseology, or drop into adventurism, substitute noisy political gesticulation for objective estimation of forces. They often tumble from astounding heights of revolutionary bombast to profound depths of pessimism and downright capitulation before the enemy. Under certain conditions, particularly in periods of sharp changes in the political situation and of forced tem[blank] disrupters of the proletarian ranks and consequently, a drag upon the revolutionary proletarian movement.
Anarchism, the most prominent representatives of which (Kropotkin, Jean Graves and others) treacherously went over to the side of the imperialist bourgeoisie in the war of 1914-1918, denies the necessity for wide, centralised and disciplined proletarian organisations and thus leaves the proletariat powerless before the powerful organisations of capital. By its advocacy of individual terror, it distracts the proletariat from the methods of mass organisation and mass struggle. By repudiating the dictatorship of the proletariat in the name of “abstract” Liberty, anarchism deprives the proletariat of its most important and sharpest weapon against the bourgeoisie, its armies, and all its organs of repression. Being remote from mass movements of any kind in the most important centres of proletarian struggle, anarchism is steadily being reduced to a sect which, by its tactics and actions, including its opposition to the dictatorship of the working class in the U.S.S.R., has objectively joined the united front of the anti-revolutionary forces.
“Revolutionary” syndicalism, many ideologists of which, in the extremely critical war period went over to the camp of the Fascist type of “anti-parliamentary” counter-revolutionaries, or became peaceful reformists of the social-democratic type, by its repudiation of political struggle (particularly of revolutionary parliamentarism) and of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, by its advocacy of craft decentralisation of the labour movement generally and of the trade union movement in particular, by its repudiation of the need for a proletarian party, and of the necessity for rebellion, and by its exaggeration of the importance of the general strike (the “fold arms tactics”), like anarchism, hinders the revolutionisation of the masses of the workers wherever it has any influence. Its attacks upon the U.S.S.R., which logically follow from its repudiation of dictatorship of the proletariat in general, place it in this respect on a level with social democracy.
All these tendencies take a common stand with social democracy, the principal enemy of the proletarian revolution, on the fundamental political issue, i.e., the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Hence, all of them come out more or less definitely in a united front with social democracy against the U.S.S.R. On the other hand, social democracy, which has utterly and completely betrayed Marxism, tends to rely more and more upon the ideology of the Fabians, of the Constructive Socialists and of the Guild Socialists. These tendencies are becoming transformed into the official liberal-reformist ideology of the bourgeois “socialism” of the Second International.
In the colonial countries and among the oppressed peoples and races generally, Communism encounters the influence of peculiar tendencies in the labour movements which played a useful role in a definite phase of development, but which, in the new stage of development, are becoming transformed into a reactionary force.
Sun Yat-Senism in China expressed the ideology of petty-bourgeois democratic “socialism.” In the “Three Principles” (nationalism, democracy, socialism), the concept “people” obscured the concept “classes”; socialism was presented, not as a specific mode of production to be carried on by a specific class, i.e., by the proletariat, but as a vague state of social well-being, while no connection was made between the struggle against imperialism and the perspectives of the development of the class struggle. Therefore, while it played a very useful role in the first stage of the Chinese revolution, as a consequence of the further process of class differentiation that has taken place in the country and of the further progress of the revolution, Sun Yat-Senism has now changed from being the ideological expression of the development of that revolution into fetters of its further development. The epigones of Sun Yat-Senism, by emphasising and exaggerating the very features of this ideology that have become objectively reactionary, have made it the official ideology of the Kuomintang, which is now an openly counter-revolutionary force. The ideological growth of the masses of the Chinese proletariat and of the toiling peasantry must therefore be accompanied by determined decisive struggle against the Kuomintang deception and by opposition to the remnants of the Sun Yat-Senist ideology.
Tendencies like Gandhism in India, thoroughly imbued with religious conceptions, idealise the most backward and economically most reactionary forms of social life, see the solution of the social problem not in proletarian socialism, but in a reversion to these backward forms, preach passivity and repudiate the class struggle, and in the process of the development of the revolution become transformed into an openly reactionary force. Ghandism is more and more becoming an ideology directed against mass revolution. It must be strongly combatted by Communism.
Garveyism which formerly was the ideology of the masses, like Ghandism, has become a hindrance to the revolutionisation of the Negro masses. Originally advocating social equality for Negroes, Garveyism subsequently developed into a peculiar form of Negro “Zionism” which, instead of fighting American imperialism, advanced the slogan: “Back to Africa!” This dangerous ideology, which bears not a single genuine democratic trait, and which toys with the aristocratic attributes of a non-existent “Negro kingdom,” must be strongly resisted, for it is not a help but a hindrance to the mass Negro struggle for liberation against American imperialism.
Standing out against all these tendencies is proletarian Communism. The sublime ideology of the international revolutionary working class, it differs from all these tendencies, and primarily from social democracy, in that, in complete harmony with the teachings of Marx and Engels, it conducts a theoretical and practical revolutionary struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, and in the struggle, applies all forms of proletarian mass action.
The successful struggle of the Communist International for the dictatorship of the proletariat presupposes the existence in every country of a compact Communist Party, hardened in the struggle, disciplined, centralised, and closely linked up with the masses.
The Party is the vanguard of the working class, and consists of the best, most class-conscious, most active and most courageous members of that class. It incorporates the whole body of experience of the proletarian struggle. Basing itself upon the revolutionary theory of Marxism and representing the general and lasting interests of the whole of the working class, the Party personifies the unity of proletarian principles, of proletarian will and of proletarian revolutionary action. It is a revolutionary organisation, bound by an iron discipline and strict revolutionary rules of democratic centralism-which can be carried out owing to the class-consciousness of the proletarian vanguard-to its loyalty to the revolution, its ability to maintain inseparable ties with the proletarian masses and to its correct political leadership, which is constantly verified and clarified by the experiences of the masses themselves.
In order that it may fulfil its historic mission of achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat, the Communist Party must first of all set itself to accomplish the following fundamental strategic aims:
Extend its influence over the majority of the members of its own class, including working women and the working youth. To achieve this the Communist Party must secure predominant influence in the broad mass proletarian organisations (Soviets, trade unions, factory councils, co-operative societies, sport organisations, cultural organisations, etc.). It is particularly important for this purpose of winning over the majority of the proletariat, to capture the trade unions, which are genuine mass working-class organisations closely bound up with the every-day struggles of the working class. To work in reactionary trade unions and skilfully to capture them, to win the confidence of the broad masses of the industrially organised workers, and to remove from their posts and replace the reformist leaders, are all important tasks in the preparatory period.
The achievement of the dictatorship of the proletariat presupposes also that the proletariat acquires leadership of wide sections of the toi1ing masses. To accomplish this the Communist Party must extend its influence over the masses of the urban and rural poor, over the lower strata of the intelligentsia, and over the so-called “small man,” i.e., the petty-bourgeois strata generally. It is particularly important that work be carried on for the purpose of extending the Party’s influence over the peasantry. The Communist Party must secure for itself the whole-hearted support of that stratum of the rural population that stands closest to the proletariat, i.e., the agricultural labourers and the rural poor. To this end the agricultural labourers must be organised in separate organisations; all possible support must be given them in their struggles against the rural bourgeoisie, and strenuous work must be carried on among the small allotment farmers and small peasants. In regard to the middle strata of the peasantry in developed capitalist countries, the Communist Parties must conduct a policy to secure their neutrality. The fulfilment of all these tasks by the proletariat-the champion of the interests of the whole people and the leader of the broad masses in their struggle against the oppression of finance capital-is an essential condition precedent for the victorious Communist revolution.
The tasks of the Communist International connected with the revolutionary struggle in colonies, semi-colonies and dependencies are extremely important strategical tasks in the world proletarian struggle. The colonial struggle presupposes that the broad masses of the working class and of the peasantry in the colonies must be won over to the banner of the revolution; but this cannot be achieved unless the closest co-operation is maintained between the proletariat in the oppressing countries and the toiling masses in the oppressed countries.
While organising under the banner of the proletarian dictatorship the revolution against imperialism in the so-called civilised States, the Communist International supports every movernent against imperialist violence in the colonies, semi-colonies and dependencies themselves (for example, Latin-America); it carries on propaganda against all forms of chauvinism and against the imperialist maltreatment of enslaved peoples and races, big and small (treatment of negroes, “yellow labour,” anti-semitism, etc.), and supports their struggles against the bourgeoisie of the oppressing nations. The Communist International especially combats the chauvinism that is preached in the Empire-owning countries by the imperialist bourgeoisie, as well as by its social-democratic agency, the Second International, and constantly holds up in contrast to the practises of the imperialist bourgeoisie the practice of the Soviet Union, which has established relations of fraternity and equality among the nationalities inhabiting it.
The Communist Parties in the imperialist countries must render systematic aid to the colonial revolutionary liberation movement, and to the movement of oppressed nationalities generally. The duty of rendering active support to these movements rests primarily upon the workers in the countries upon which the oppressed nations are economically, financially or politically dependent. The Communist Parties must openly recognise the right of the colonies to separation and their right to carry on propaganda for this separation, i.e., propaganda in favour of the independence of the colonies from the imperialist State.
They must recognise their right of armed defence against imperialism (i.e., the right of rebellion and revolutionary war) and advocate and give active support to this defence by all the means in their power. The Communist Parties must adopt this line of policy in regard to all oppressed nations.
The Communist Parties in the colonial and semi-colonial countries must carry on a bold and consistent struggle against foreign imperialism and unfailingly conduct propaganda in favour of friendship and unity with the proletariat in the imperialist countries. They must openly advance, conduct propaganda for and carry out the slogan of agrarian revolution, rouse the broad masses of the peasantry for the overthrow of the landlords and combat the reactionary and medieval influence of the priesthood, of the missionaries and other similar elements.
In these countries, the principal task is to organise the workers and the peasantry independently (to establish class Communist Parties of the proletariat, trade unions, peasant leagues and committees and-in a revolutionary situation, Soviets, etc.), and to free them from the influence of the national bourgeoisie, with whom temporary agreements may be made only on the condition that they, the bourgeoisie, do not hamper the revolutionary organisation of the workers and peasants, and that they carry on a genuine struggle against imperialism.
In determining its line of tactics, each Communist Party must take into account the concrete internal and external situation, the co-relation of class forces, the degree of stability and strength of the bourgeoisie, the degree of preparedness of the proletariat, the position taken up by the various intermediary strata, etc., in its country. The Party determines slogans and methods of struggle in accordance with these circumstances, with the view to organising and mobilising the masses on the broadest possible scale and on the highest possible level of this struggle.
When a revolutionary situation is developing, the Party advances certain transitional slogans and partial demands corresponding to the concrete situation; but these demands and slogans must be bent to the revolutionary aim of capturing power and of overthrowing bourgeois capitalist society. The Party must neither stand aloof from the daily needs and struggles of the working class nor confine its activities exclusively to them. The task of the Party is to utilise these minor everyday needs as a starting point from which to lead the working class to the revolutionary struggle for power.
When the revolutionary tide is rising, when the ruling classes are disorganised, the masses are in a state of revolutionary ferment, the intermediary strata are inclining towards the proletariat and the masses are ready for action and for sacrifice, the Party of the proletariat is confronted with the task of leading the masses to a direct attack upon the bourgeois State. This it does by carrying on propaganda in favour of increasingly radical transitional slogans (for Soviets, workers’ control of industry, for peasant committees, for the seizure of the big landed properties, for disarming the bourgeoisie and arming the proletariat, etc.), and by organising mass action, upon which, all branches of Party agitation and propaganda, including parliamentary activity, must be concentrated. This mass action includes: strikes; a combination of strikes and demonstrations; a combination of strikes and armed demonstrations and finally, the general strike conjointly with armed insurrection against the State power of the bourgeoisie. The latter form of struggle, which is the supreme form, must be conducted according to the rules of war; it presupposes a plan of campaign, offensive fighting operations and unbounded devotion and heroism on the part of the proletariat. An absolutely essential condition precedent for this form of action is the organisation of the broad masses into militant units, which, by their very form, embrace and set into action the largest possible numbers of toilers (Councils of Workers’ Deputies, Soldiers’ Councils, etc.), and intensified revolutionary work in the army and the navy.
In passing over to new and more radical slogans, the Parties must be guided by the fundamental role of the political tactics of Leninism, which call for ability to lead the masses to revolutionary position’s in such a manner that the masses may, by their own experience, convince themselves of the correctness of the Party line. Failure to observe this rule must inevitably lead to isolation from the masses, to putschism, to the ideological degeneration of Communism into “leftist” dogmatism, and to petty bourgeois “revolutionary” adventurism. Failure to take advantage of the culminating point in the development of the revolutionary situation, when the Party of the proletariat is called upon to conduct a bold and determined attack upon the enemy, is not less dangerous. To allow that opportunity to slip by and to fail to start rebellion at that point, means to allow the initiative to pass to the enemy and to doom the revolution to defeat.
When the revolutionary tide is not rising, the Communist Parties must advance partial slogans and demands that correspond to the everyday needs of the toilers, and combine them with the fundamental tasks of the Communist International. The Communist Parties must not, however, at such a time, advance transitional slogans that are applicable only to revolutionary situations (for example workers’ control of industry, etc.). To advance such slogans when there is no revolutionary situation means to transform them into slogans that favour merging with the capitalist system of organisation. Partial demands and slogans form generally an essential part of correct tactics; but certain transitional slogans go inseparably with a revolutionary situation. Repudiation of partial demands and transitional slogans “on principle,” however, is incompatible with the tactical principles of Communism, for in effect, such repudiation condemns the Party to inaction and isolates it from the masses. United front tactics also occupy an important place in the tactics of the Communist Parties throughout the whole pre-revolutionary period as a means towards achieving success in the struggle against capital, towards the class mobilisation of the masses and the exposure and isolation of the reformist leaders.
The correct application of united front tactics and the fulfilment of the general task of winning over the masses presupposes in their turn systematic and persistent work in the trade unions and other mass proletarian organisations. It is the bounden duty of every Communist to belong to a trade union, even a most reactionary one, provided it is a mass organisation. Only by constant and persistent work in the trade unions and in the factories for the steadfast and energetic defence of the interests of the workers, together with ruthless struggle against the reformist bureaucracy, will it be possible to win the leadership in the workers’ struggle and to win the industrially organised workers over to the side of the Party.
Unlike the reformists, whose policy is to split the trade unions, the Communists defend trade union unity nationally and internationally on the basis of the class struggle, and render every support to and strengthen the work of the Red Trade Union International.
In championing universally the current everyday needs of the masses of the workers and of the toilers generally, in utilising the bourgeois parliament as a platform for revolutionary agitation and propaganda, and subordinating all partial tasks to the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, the Parties of the Communist International advance partial demands and slogans in the following main spheres:
In the sphere of Labour, in the narrow meaning of the term, i.e., questions concerned with the industrial struggle: the fight against the trustified capital offensive, wages questions, the working day, compulsory arbitration, unemployment; which grow into questions of the general political struggle, big industrial conflicts, fight for the right to organise, right to strike, etc.; in the sphere of politics proper: taxation, high cost of living, Fascism, persecution of revolutionary parties, white terror and current politics generally; and finally in the sphere of world politics, viz., attitude towards the U.S.S.R. and colonial revolutions, struggle for the unity of the international trade union movement, struggle against imperialism and the war danger, and systematic preparation for the fight against imperialist war.
In the sphere of the peasant problem, the partial demands are those appertaining to taxation, peasant mortgage indebtedness, struggle against usurer’s capital, the land hunger of the peasant smallholders, rent, the metayer (crop-sharing) system. Starting out from these partial needs; the Communist Party must sharpen the respective slogans and broaden them out into the slogans: confiscation of large estates, and workers’ and peasants’ government (the synonym for the proletarian dictatorship in developed capitalist countries and for a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry in backward countries and in certain colonies).
Systematic work must also be carried on among the proletarian and peasant youth (mainly through the Young Communist International and its Sections) and also among working women and peasant women. This work must concern itself with the special conditions of life and struggle of the working and peasant women, and their demands must be linked up with the general demands and fighting slogans of the proletariat.
In the struggle against colonial oppression, the Communist Parties in the colonies must advance partial demands that correspond to the special circumstances prevailing in each country such as: complete equality for all nations and races; abolition of all privileges for foreigners; the right of association for workers and peasants; reduction of the working day; prohibition of child labour; prohibition of usury and of all transactions entailing bondage; reduction and abolition of rent; reduction of taxation; refusal to pay taxes, etc. All these partial slogans must be subordinate to the fundamental demands of the Communist Parties such as: complete political national independence and the expulsion of the imperialists; workers’ and peasants’ government, the land to the whole people, eight hour day, etc. The Communist Parties in imperialist countries, while supporting the struggle proceeding in the colonies, must carry on a campaign in their own respective countries for the withdrawal of imperialist troops, conduct propaganda in the army and navy in defence of the oppressed countries fighting for their liberation, mobilise the masses to refuse to transport troops and munitions, and in connection with this, to organise strikes and other forms of mass protest, etc.
The Communist International must devote itself especially to systematic preparation for the struggle against the danger of imperialist wars. Ruthless exposure of social chauvinism, of social imperialism and of pacifist phrase-mongering intended to camouflage the imperialist plans of the bourgeoisie; propaganda in favour of the principal slogans of the Communist International; everyday organisational work in connection with this in the course of which constitutional methods must unfailingly be combined with unconstitutional methods; organised work in the army and navy-such must be the activity of the Communist Parties in this connection. The fundamental slogans of the Communist International in this connection must be the following: “Convert imperialist war into civil war”; defeat the “home” imperialist government; defend the U.S.S.R. and the colonies by every possible means in the event of imperialist war against them. It is the bounden duty of all Sections of the Communist International, and of everyone of its members, to carry on propaganda for these slogans, to expose the “ socialistic” sophisms and the “socialistic” camouflage of the League of Nations, and constantly to keep to the front the experiences of the war of 1914-1918.
In order that revolutionary work and revolutionary action may be co-ordinated and in order that these activities may be guided most successfully, the international proletariat must be bound by international class discipline, for which first of all, it is most important to have the strictest international discipline in the Communist ranks.
This international Communist discipline must find expression in the subordination of the partial and local interests of the movement to its general and lasting interests and in the strict fulfilment, by all members, of the decisions passed by the leading bodies of the Communist International.
Unlike the social-democratic Second International, each Section of which submits to the discipline of “its own,” national bourgeoisie and of its own “fatherland,” the Sections of the Communist International submit to only one discipline, viz., international proletarian discipline, which guarantees victory in the struggle of the world’s workers for world proletarian dictatorship. Unlike the Second International, which splits the trade unions, fights against colonial peoples, and practices unity with the bourgeoisie, the Communist International is an organisation that guards proletarian unity in all countries and the unity of the toilers of all races and all peoples in their struggle against the yoke of imperialism.
Despite the bloody terror of the bourgeoisie, the Communists fight with courage and devotion on all sectors of the international class front, in the firm conviction that the victory of the proletariat is inevitable and cannot be averted.
“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their aims can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all the existing social conditions. Let the ruling class tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
“Working men of all countries, Unite!”